Workplace Violence Takes a Deadly Toll

Nov. 13, 2009
The violence that recently has hit our nation’s workplaces has brought an important issue to the forefront: workplace safety. In hindsight on both the Fort Hood and Orlando shootings, it’s easy to say that preventative measures could have been set into motion to avoid these tragedies.

According to federal statistics, murder is the second leading cause of death in the workplace. It is suspected that violent episodes will continue to grow as a result of the stressful economy and unstable job market.

“Mass shootings obviously represent extreme anger. It’s anger that may be directed against one person, a group of people or an entire system,” said Dr. Joan L. Neff, a criminologist and associate professor of sociology and anthropology at the University of Richmond. “For the most part, it's someone who feels like there's been an injustice committed against them, and the only way they can think of to retaliate is through some act of violence.”

SafetySkills, recommends the following tips for employers to improve overall workplace safety and mitigate the risk of violence in the workplace:

  • Do thorough background checks on potential employees. Many employers currently do this, but some have become more lax due to financial reasons.
  • Provide proper training. All employees should be trained on hazards specific to their jobs.
  • Create an open-door policy and protocols for safety concerns. Make sure that employees feel safe when coming to a supervisor about a possible safety issue. Create a protocol for reporting a concern for violence and follow-up on the matter with discretion.
  • Have a no tolerance policy. Never condone or forgive a violent matter of any kind.
  • Get security through the use of security guards, monitoring systems or a personal key code system that can be removed upon termination of an employee. The harder it is for a disgruntled employee to get into the building, the less likely he or she will try.

“Our hearts go out to those who were victimized this past week as a result of senseless workplace violence,” said Trey Greene, CEO of noodleStream.com. “All employers should do everything possible to ensure the safety of their employees. It’s easy to look back and see the warning signs, but it’s imperative to see the warning signs and do something about it before something bad happens.”

To learn more about SafetySkills and their Violence in the Workplace course, visit http://www.safetyskills.com/virtuemart/human-resource-compliance/violence-in-the-workplace.

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