Workplace Violence

The month of April is Workplace Violence Awareness Month and is commemorated nationally, for the fifth year, by the Alliance Against Workplace Violence (AAWPV). AAWPV intends to “highlight the preventable nature of most workplace violence incidents.” This week’s articles reinforce their efforts... please take the time to read how you can recognize and help prevent violence in the workplace.

Employers need to be on the lookout for workers who display any of these eight warning signs of violent behavior. (Item #1)     Employers can't prevent all workplace violence, but they can take steps to minimize the chances of workplace violence. (Item #2)     Not all measures will be practical in every workplace, but effective measures that could reduce the risk of violence may be found for any workplace. (Item #3)    

Workplaces must stay vigilant by enforcing their own workplace human resources/security policies. (Item #4)     The moment of termination is often a crisis; if it's handled well, everything thereafter goes smoothly, but if it's handled poorly, anything can happen. (Item #5)     Whether or not an employer ignores complaint of workplace violence, minor or major, the employee should report all incidents in writing as soon as possible to a supervisor or manager and alert security to the situation. (Item #6)    

As always, I look forward to hearing about your concerns with regard to business continuity. If there are any topics that you'd like to see covered, email me at

Bob Mellinger, President
Attainium Corp

1. Eight warning signs of volatile employee behavior

When workplace violence occurs, employees may say their violent co-worker "just snapped." But, the truth is, people usually don’t snap. They display warning signs long before they actually act out. The key is to talk to employees early in this “pre-violence” stage to offer assistance and/or let them know their behaviors are unacceptable. Too many HR pros and supervisors let things like threats and argumentative behavior slide until it’s too late.

2. How Can Employers Prevent Workplace Violence?

The shooting of two journalists and an interviewee on live morning TV by a former co-worker last year raises the question of how to identify whether current or former employees may be on the verge of committing a violent or even deadly act. Flanagan might have exhibited disturbing behaviors that may have been communicated to HR or other leadership, said Dr. Steve Albrecht, PHR, a threat assessment expert from San Diego, in an interview with SHRM Online. “These perpetrators don’t just snap; they leak information,” he said.

3. Controlling and Preventing Workplace Violence

Since violence may often be predicted, it may also be prevented, even in workplaces that serve people who tend to be aggressive and violent. Some solutions are easy, painless and cheap; others are more difficult and more expensive. They differ greatly among occupations and workplaces. The principles used to address other safety and health issues can be applied to the workplace violence problem.

4. 10 Ways to Prevent Workplace Violence Escalation

Combating workplace violence as we know it is complex and requires management commitment, investment and understanding of what it takes to provide resources in protecting the workforce against threats posed by disgruntled employees, domestic violence spillover into the workplace, and customer-, client- or patient-related violence. Traditional approaches have always relied on the Human Resource departments to be the lead -- the policy implementer.

5. 25 Ways to Prevent Workplace Violence During Terminations

Although most separations go smoothly, any termination can go wrong. In the wake of the recent shootings and violence after terminations, it's wise to review your corporate outplacement practices to make sure they're safe. For many people, work is life; so losing a job is traumatic, even if the person affected expects the loss and sees it coming. Treat each situation as a lethal time bomb.

6. What Can an Employee Do If Workplace Violence Is Not Addressed?

Small businesses that ignore employee complaints of workplace violence could open themselves up to lawsuits, according to Environmental, Health and Safety Today. Employees do have options when the employer does not act.

Quote of the Week:

"One of the most common mistakes that companies can make is to terminate the person and believe that they are done with them."

-- Randy Ferris, cofounder
Violence Prevention Strategies

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