Mitigating Violence in the Workplace

26 April 2021

In light of the recent violent incident at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis, many organizations are likely reviewing their workplace violence protocols. Although the incidence of workplace violence is greater in industries like health care and retail, no industry or organization is immune. Almost 20% of all violent incidents occur at work and these incidents can be life-changing for both those directly and indirectly affected.

Workplace Violence Defined

Workplace violence has a broad definition that includes any act in which a person is abused, threatened, intimidated, or assaulted during the course of his or her employment. This includes incidents that occur at the workplace, immediately outside the workplace, or offsite during a workplace event. The act can be physical or non-physical and includes behaviours like hitting, kicking, spitting, throwing objects, oral or written threats, sexual harassment, bullying, vandalism, rumours, and verbal abuse.

The four recognized types of workplace violence are:

  • External Perpetrator: the violent person has no relationship to the worker or workplace
  • Client / Customer: the violent person is a client or customer at the workplace who becomes violent towards a worker or another client or customer
  • Employee Related: the violent person is a worker or has some type of job-related involvement with the workplace.
  • Domestic Violence: The violent person has a personal relationship with an employee or client

One of the best things you can do to ensure the safety of your workers is to train them on how to recognize and handle violent incidents. All employees should know to watch for potential precursors of violent incidents, including:

  • Angry outbursts
  • Intimidating behaviour
  • Talk about weapons
  • Holding grudges

All employees should also be trained on general safety precautions and how to avoid workplace violence, including:

  • Don’t provide access to strangers
  • Be familiar with all exits
  • Know who to contact if there’s a security issue
  • Try not to work alone

Employee training should also include tactics on how to avoid or de-escalate a violent situation, including:

  • Remaining calm when confronted by a violent person
  • Do not argue with a violent person
  • Do not respond to the threats of a violent person
  • Alert other people to the situation however possible
  • Do anything you can to avoid going elsewhere with the violent person

Lastly, it’s essential for employees to understand the seriousness of workplace violence and that it should be reported immediately. There should be clear policies and procedures for employees to follow so that they are comfortable reporting incidents without fear of retaliation.

Sincron HR Software

Using the Sincron HR platform managers and employees can note and raise safety concerns within the employee portal while HR can periodically post updates and articles to raise employee/manager awareness. In addition:

      • The platform features a full learning management system (LMS) to train manager and employees to mitigate violence
      • Sincron HR configures the platform to ensure organizations meet or exceed industry/accreditation standards
      • The new HR Essentials platform is now available for just $2/month per employee
      • Training and tech support (call, text, video library, etc.) is included

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