Identify Workplace Violence Prevention Steps

Survey confirms widespread workplace violence, so nationwide satellite workshop Dec. 14 will provide some answers to this growing problem.

More than half of human resource professionals in a recent survey report that a violent incident occurred in their workplace between January 1996 and July 1999. Since then, there have been three significant workplace shootings.

To help employers deal with workplace violence, a nationwide satellite workshop from 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 14 will provide preventative programs and better responses. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) workshop will be available in 21 cities: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.

More than 1 million violent crimes occur annually in the workplace. In less than a year, cyberstalking has become the fastest-growing element of workplace violence and is the subject of new legislation. In addition to cyberstalking and cyberterrorism, participants will learn about:

  • Trends in workplace violence;
  • The new and expanded definition of workplace violence;
  • Reports of best practices in workplace violence prevention;
  • Developing a checklist to protect the physical security of the workplace;
  • A seven-step plan for responding to and preventing workplace violence;
  • The termination process and handling of potentially violent employees at time of termination;
  • Psychological myths associated with workplace violence;
  • Early warning signals;
  • Special problems in workers' compensation;
  • Case study of an intervention; and
  • Following up on protecting the workplace from a residual threat.

Workshop presenters will be Garry Mathiason, an attorney who advises employers on preventing and responding to workplace violence; JoAnn Lippert, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist specializing in forensic evaluations and consultations in criminal and civil actions involving violence; Michael R. Losey, president and chief executive officer of SHRM; and Susan R. Meisinger, executive vice president and chief operating officer of SHRM.

Incidences of workplace violence reported by HR professionals have increased since 1996, and employers are responding with increased security measures and preventative training, according to the SHRM 1999 Workplace Violence Survey released Nov. 8. Fifty-seven percent reported a violent incident in their workplace in the past three years, up from 48 percent in SHRM's 1996 survey. Shootings and stabbings account for 2 percent of incidents. The two most-common acts of violence reported in the survey were verbal threats (41 percent) and pushing and shoving (19 percent).

"This survey bears out the fact that the potential for violence in the workplace should still be a top concern for employers," Losey said. "The good news is that the majority of employers are increasingly aware of the problem and are taking steps to address it."

Sixty-eight percent of survey respondents said their organizations have written policies addressing workplace violence, up from 59 percent in 1996. Other prevention methods include installing a security system to control building access (73 percent), referring potentially violent employees to employee assistance programs ( 52 percent) and training managers and supervisors to identify the warning signs of violent behavior (35 percent).

Cost for the workshop is $95 for SHRM members and $120 for nonmembers. The fee includes lunch and a copy of the workplace violence survey. Registration deadline is Dec. 10. Registrations can be taken online at or faxed to SHRM at (703) 836-0367 with location and credit card information.

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