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7 Tips To Prevent Workplace Violence

How you can help prevent workplace violence before it happens and what you should do if you become the target of workplace violence is what we will cover in this article. Workplace

Violence Examples – Workplace violence comes in many forms, and can strike at any time, so it’s important to be aware of the signs; know the warning signs, and be prepared to defend yourself against possible workplace violence scenarios. Be aware of your surroundings while on the job and trust your gut instinct when something doesn’t feel quite right or when someone makes you feel uncomfortable; that could be a sign that something violent could happen soon.

As an employer, there are modalities you should put in place to reduce workplace violence to its minimum.

Sit tight as we bring this truck load of information to you – “7 Tips To Prevent Workplace Violence“.

What Is Workplace Violence

Workplace violence is a problem in many workplaces across the country. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, workplace violence includes threats and attacks that occur at work or while commuting to and from work.

Types of workplace violence include verbal abuse, physical assault, homicide, sexual harassment, stalking, domestic violence, cyberbullying, and other types of harassment.

A workplace violence policy can help reduce the likelihood of workplace violence by educating employees about how to deal with potentially violent situations.

READ: What is the Purpose of the Community Safety Education Act

According to Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Today, there are several ways to prevent workplace violence. The first is to keep an eye out for any warning signs of a potentially violent situation. These can include someone who makes threats, repeatedly visits your workplace, or doesn’t feel comfortable around others.

Examples Of Workplace Violence

Examples of Workplace Violence Include:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Harassment
  • Pranks
  • Arguments
  • Property damage
  • Vandalism
  • Sabotage
  • Pushing
  • Theft
  • Physical assaults
  • Psychological trauma
  • Anger-related incidents
  • Rape
  • Arson
  • Murder, etc.

Nurses are said to be at a higher risk of experiencing workplace violence than any other profession. More than 500 nurses reporting to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that they had experienced such a situation in the last three years. The following tips will help you prevent it from happening to you:

  1. Be aware of your surroundings. Identify potential threats and exit routes from your work area before an incident occurs.
  2. Use your instincts. If you feel like something is wrong, don’t ignore it. This could be a pre-incident indicator or a sign that you are already being targeted by workplace violence.
  3. Don’t ignore it. If you sense that you are being targeted by workplace violence, report your concerns to your supervisor, someone in Human Resources or your administrator. They will take steps to help ensure your safety while also addressing whatever issue may have triggered it.
  4. Create or implement a workplace violence prevention program.
  5. Seek counseling. If you or someone you know has experienced violence in your workplace, it is important to seek help. Mental health professionals can help you process and deal with your experience and get back on track at work as well as in other aspects of your life.

Workplace Violence Statistics

Workplace violence led to nearly 18,000 deaths over a recent 27-year period, according to a recently published report from NIOSH and two other federal agencies.

Indicators of Workplace Violence, 2019 – released July 21 – presents 13 indicators of workplace violence based on data from five federal data collections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and four other surveys. Those indicators include characteristics of victims, weapons used in nonfatal violence and nonfatal injuries resulting in days away from work. The Bureau of Justice Statistics also contributed to the report.

A total of 17,865 workers were victims of workplace homicides from 1992 to 2019 – with a high of 1,080 in 1994. In 2019, workplace homicides totaled 454 – a 58% drop from the 1994 total. Over the last six years of the study period, workplace violence-related deaths rose 11%, from 409 in 2014.

READ: Health And Safety Stairs Regulations

Between 2015 and 2019, sales and related occupations accounted for 21% of all workplace homicides, and protective services workers (police officers, security guards, etc.) made up 19%. Additionally, males comprised 82% of workplace homicide victims. Shootings accounted for 79% of workplace homicides, while stabbing, cutting, slashing or piercing made up 9% of the total.

Around 1.3 million nonfatal violent crimes took place at workplaces annually from 2015 to 2019, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey. Those crimes included about 979,000 simple assaults, 186,000 aggravated assaults, 53,000 rapes or sexual assaults, and 46,000 robberies a year.

Workplace Violence and Harassment

These are incidents involving work-related abuse, threats or assaults among health workers including physical, sexual, verbal and psychological abuse and workplace harassment.

Violence and harassment affect all health worker groups and work settings in the health sector.
Up to 62% of health workers have experienced workplace violence.
Verbal abuse (58%) is the most common form of non-physical violence, followed by threats (33%) and sexual harassment (12%).


Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations

There are relevant standards for workplace violence.

For example, OSHA has some:

Under the General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are required to provide their employees with a place of employment that is “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”

The courts have interpreted OSHA’s general duty clause to mean that an employer has a legal obligation to provide a workplace free of conditions or activities that either the employer or industry recognizes as hazardous and that cause, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to employees when there is a feasible method to abate the hazard.

OSHA has developed Enforcement Procedures and Scheduling for Occupational Exposure to Workplace Violence, which provides guidance and procedures to be followed when conducting inspections and issuing citations related to the occupational exposure to workplace violence.

READ: Employees Responsibilities For Health And Safety At Work Act 1974

An employer that has experienced acts of workplace violence, or becomes aware of threats, intimidation, or other indicators showing that the potential for violence in the workplace exists, would be on notice of the risk of workplace violence and should implement a workplace violence prevention program combined with engineering controls, administrative controls, and training.

OSHA Enforcement Letters of Interpretation

  • Determining work-relatedness for recordkeeping of injury resulting from horseplay. (February 9, 2009).
    Staff-to-resident ratio in a nursing home and workplace violence. (August 14, 2006).
  • Request for OSHA national policy banning guns from the workplace and OSHA enforcement policy regarding workplace violence. (September 9, 2006).
  • OSHA’s guidelines are advisory, do not create new employer obligations, and are not basis for citations. (June 7, 2004).
  • OSHA’s policy for scheduling occupational fatality investigations. (March 12, 1997).
    Guidelines for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs for Night Retail Establishments. (October 23, 1996).
  • OSHA policy regarding violent employee behavior. (December 10, 1992).

International Labour Organization also state some relevant regulations regarding workplace violence:

Health and safety law applies to risks from violence, just as it does to other risks from work. The main pieces of relevant legislation are:

  • The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act)

Employers have a legal duty under this Act to ensure, so far as it is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees.

  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Employers must consider the risks to employees (including the risk of reasonably foreseeable violence); decide how significant these risks are; decide what to do to prevent or control the risks; and develop a clear management plan to achieve this.

  • The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR)

Employers must notify their enforcing authority in the event of an accident at work to any employee resulting in death, specified injury, or incapacity for normal work for seven or more days. This includes any act of non-consensual physical violence done to a person at work. More information is available at the HSE RIDDOR pages.

  • Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 (a) and The Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996 (b)

Employers must inform, and consult with, employees in good time on matters relating to their health and safety. Employee representatives, either appointed by recognised trade unions under (a) or elected under (b) may make representations to their employer on matters affecting the health and safety of those they represent.

7 Tips To Prevent Workplace Violence

It’s hard to think about workplace violence when you’re in a safe and nurturing environment. But the truth is that it can happen anywhere, anytime. If you work in a healthcare environment, here are 7 tips to help you prevent workplace violence.

1) Be familiar with your company’s guidelines for preventing workplace violence. Every organization should have policies and procedures in place to prevent workplace violence, so make sure you know what they are.

2) If you think workplace violence is possible, consult your manager. Ask him or her what they think of your concerns and what they are doing to reduce risk. If necessary, you can also ask to meet with your company’s health and safety committee. These people will have resources available to help you come up with a comprehensive plan for preventing workplace violence.

3) Stay alert. Note any unusual behavior from patients, visitors and coworkers, and report it immediately to your manager. A tip or an offhand comment about violence isn’t something to be dismissed as silly. Taking notice of these small things can make a big difference in preventing workplace violence. You may even see warning signs that could be otherwise overlooked.

4) Report anything suspicious. If you have a gut feeling that something bad is going to happen, report it! Your company will likely conduct an investigation. It may not be able to prevent violence, but it can help address any underlying problems that could lead to an incident, and protect other employees from harm if there’s a risk of violence.

5) Have a way to defend yourself. One of your biggest weapons against workplace violence is knowing self-defense techniques and being able to recognize a threat. Some organizations offer training for staff on preventing violence, teaching them to spot warning signs, avoid dangerous situations, and protect themselves from harm if necessary. Find out if your company offers training or can direct you toward classes in your community where you can learn effective self-defense techniques.

6) Think of yourself as a team member. While you may not be security personnel, it’s still important to work with your company to prevent workplace violence. Many healthcare providers are working on increasing security in their facilities, but they still rely on staff to report threats and take other precautions to make sure everyone stays safe. Even if your employer isn’t investing in more physical security measures, reporting any threats or suspicious behavior can help protect everyone at work.

7) Follow up with your company. It’s important to follow up on anything you report, as well as to check in with your company about any new policies or procedures for preventing workplace violence. This can ensure that you’re kept up-to-date and have a clear understanding of how you can help prevent workplace violence. You should also let them know if there are other steps they should take to help reduce risk, such as additional training or security measures.

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