Keeping a Watchful Eye
While many employers seek to improve safety in the workplace, one facet that is often overlooked is violence in the workplace. Workplace violence is any physical assault, threatening behavior, or verbal abuse occurring in the workplace, and it can be caused by an employee, employer, or customer. It can include (but is not limited to) aggravated assault, sexual assault, product tampering, sabotage, and homicide (including acts committed during robberies). Did you know that the leading cause of death on the job for women is stalking? In fact, one out of 20 women will be the victim of a stalker.
Fortunately, workplace violence is often preventable, through an active safety plan. Employers or their safety consultants should first conduct a workplace risk assessment, and then develop preventative measures. These measures can range from having visitors sign in at a reception desk, visitor badges, security cameras, key/card access only entrances, and even on-site patrols by law enforcement. Providing training to all employees is vital, especially identifying what constitutes workplace violence, and how to report it. First aid training is also good to provide to employees in the event someone is injured as a result of workplace violence.
Having a crisis response plan to workplace violence is critical and should include how to document threats, respond to threats, and know both emergency and non-emergency numbers for law enforcement. Workplace violence is an extremely important subject, but is often overlooked. Put the safety of employees and customers first, and make sure to be prepared for potential workplace violence. Request the new ‘Violence in the Workplace’ presentation by visiting the Department’s website and filling out a Speaker’s Bureau request form or by calling 573-751-3209.