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Employers Taking Steps to Combat Workplace Violence

RIMS survey shows that 58 percent of employers surveyed refer potentially violent employees to assistance programs.

Employers are using prevention measures to curb workplace violence by improving hiring techniques, implementing security measures or by developing a "no weapons" policy, according to a survey and white paper published by the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS).

More than half (58 percent) of the employers surveyed said they refer potentially violent employees to their employee assistance programs, the report said.

The paper, "Workplace Violence Study and White Paper," complies the results of a joint study that focused on current programs and policies that prevent and mitigate workplace violence.

RIMS and Risk Management/Insurance Division of the American Society of Safety Engineers surveyed 1,000 selected safety professionals from their member pool and 500 random safety professionals.

Although 70 percent of the respondents have not undergone a formal risk assessment of the potential for violence in the workplace, nearly 62 percent of the respondents indicated that their organizations have a written workplace violence policy in place.

"Risk managers cannot ignore the human and financial costs of workplace violence," said Ruth Unks, co-author of the paper and risk manager for Maricopa County Community College District Legal Services Department.

"This survey and the white paper can be a useful tool and provide a context for risk managers to raise these issues within their organization."

The White Paper makes 16 specific recommendations for officers and directors, human resource managers, risk managers and securities professionals to consider when evaluating their vulnerability to workplace violence.

It also gives suggestions on how to develop policies to minimize the risk of such violence, appropriate to their particular situation and needs.

Recommendations include:

  • conducting a risk assessment,
  • increasing security,
  • providing training for employers and employees; and
  • identifying methods for dealing with troubled employees.

For a copy of the study, visit the RIMS Web Site at

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