Workplace Violence

One in six violent crimes occurs in the workplace, according to the most recent Department of Justice study on crime. The workplace is the scene of almost 1 million violent crimes every year, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. About 10 percent--or 100,000--of these violent workplace crimes involve offenders armed with handguns. With numbers like this, you can't assume your workplace is safe. Read this week's articles to see how you prepare and perhaps avoid workplace violence.

HR is both the target of and its first line of defense against workplace violence. (Item #1)   How do you prevent workplace violence eruptions? (Item #2)   A no-tolerance policy and early intervention are the keys to preventing workplace violence. (Item #3)  

A comprehensive workplace violence plan will include three critical elements. (Item #4)   Violence in the workplace impacts all employees; what can you do after the fact to deal with their emotions? (Item #5)   Here are some workplace violence statistics that may open your eyes to the scope of the problem. (Item #6)  

As always, we look forward to hearing your comments & insights regarding business continuity. If you have a topic you'd like us to cover, email me at [email protected].

Bob Mellinger, President
Attainium Corp

1. Workplace Violence: Violence Can Happen Here

A very real, clear and present danger lurks just beyond the consciousness of people who work together eight to ten hours a day, five to seven days a week. It is the potential for violence to occur in your workplace. Increasingly, the Human Resources function is both the target of these threats of workplace violence and the organization's first line of defense for the prevention of workplace violence.

2. Workplace violence remains difficult to tackle

Most people probably have heard news reports about angry employees who lose control at work. Just this month, a truck driver facing termination at a beer distributor in Connecticut killed eight co-workers before committing suicide. Figuring out how to prevent violent outbursts can be challenging for companies that may feel pressure to find a solution to workplace violence. But it's not always so obvious how to prevent such workplace eruptions, experts say. The fact that workplace homicides involving co-workers occur relatively infrequently is often a major obstacle to battling violence within in a company.

3. Zero Tolerance for Workplace Violence

Workplace safety is one of those better-safe-than-sorry areas of management where prevention is critical. Although an organization's hiring and supervision policies appear to preclude violent behavior in the workplace, early intervention helps prevent more serious acts. Instituting a zero tolerance for workplace violence policy sends a clear message to all involved that in your nonprofit there are consequences for violent actions.

4. Top 3 Things Your Workplace Violence Plan Should Have

Perhaps everyone who works in your office gets along perfectly and there is never a cross word. Maybe all of your customers and suppliers are equally as delightful and would never harm anyone under any circumstance. Most companies aren't so fortunate. Though, obviously, you hope to never experience a workplace violence incident, having a plan in place can help all involved best manage the situation. Though plans will, and should, vary by industry, a comprehensive and effective plan will contain these three elements.

5. Dealing with emotions after violence comes to the workplace

Glenda Laudisio had already left ZigZag's offices in the Navy Yard on Feb. 12, 2007, when Vincent J. Dortch showed up for an evening meeting with Laudisio's boss and three business partners in the small advertising company's conference room. After exchanging pleasantries, Dortch, a disgruntled investor, pulled out a gun and killed three of the four people in the room before killing himself. The fourth, wounded, survived. Even though she was skeptical at the time, it turned out that a group session with her fellow employees and a counselor shortly after the slayings helped.

6. Shocking Workplace Violence Statistics

Workplace homicides are now the second highest cause of work related deaths in America, trailing only behind transportation fatalities such as workers killed in highway accidents. In fact the average retail employee is more likely to be shot fatally by a co-worker than a construction worker is to fall to his death, or be killed by operating heavy equipment. In 2009 for example, it appears that the numbers are even higher, as 12% of all work related deaths were homicides, out of the total 18% classified under the assaults and violent acts category.

Quote of the Week:

"There is a great streak of violence in every human being. If it is not channeled and understood, it will break out in war or in madness."
-- Sam Peckinpah

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Attainium Corp
15110 Gaffney Circle
Gainesville, VA 20155