Violence at work is a huge problem and can be considered a risk which can
be minimized or preventable to some extent by the employers. Workplace violence
can be range from threats to physical attack. Violence directed at employees
can be caused by customers, clients, patients, or any others for whom the
company provide services. However, there are steps that the employers or the
human resource managers can take to reduce the likelihood of violence at
workplace. The first step is to increase the security measures at the workplace
and this can be treated as the first line of defense.
According to OSHA, the measures should be taken by the employers such as improve
external lighting at the compound of the premise. They should encourage drop
safes to minimize cash on hand for daily transaction which can draw attention
for robbery especially during late night hours. Secure the workplace by installing
silent alarms for emergency evacuation plan and surveillance cameras for the movement
monitoring of staffs and outsiders. In addition to this, employers can increase
the number of staff on duty especially night shift to avoid any unintended
violence. Employers should provide safety training or program for the employees
so they know what conduct is unacceptable and how to handle workplace violence.
Policies and procedures for visitors can be developed to address the conduct of
visiting hours and employees got the rights to refuse and provide services
after office hours. Bringing dangerous
weapons and dangerous items to the premise by the visitors are strictly
The second step that the employer can take is to improve the employee
screening. Screening out the potential violent applicants is the responsibility
of the employers. Employers can screen out these types of violent applicants
before hiring them and create a problem later in the company. All these can be
done by checking through the applicant’s background, history, education or any
useful references. A complete background checking should include an incomplete
or false statement in the resume, a false reference for the previous job, any
criminal history for the previous job, any history of drug or alcohol abuse, any strong indication for frequent job changes
and lost of licenses or accreditation for the previous job.
The third step that the employers can take to reduce workplace violence is
to provide workplace violence training for the supervisors. This is to ensure
supervisor can figure out the potential violent current employees in the
company. Common clues include any act of violence on or off the job from the
employees, loss of perception, any sexually aggressive behavior, tendency to
isolate from others, treating subordinate with a threat of violence, any action
against the regulation of security, any violation of privacy rights of others. The
most critical is to check for any possession of weapons, guns, knives or
dangerous items by the employees in the workplace which can cause violence any
Employers also need to be careful when firing a high risk employee. Employers
must document all the threats and responses of the terminating employees.
Employers need to advise the terminated employees no longer permitted to enter
the employers’ properties. They should keep the termination short and brief. In
addition to that, employers can offer a severance package for the employees to
leave or quit and protect other employees interest without demotivate them.
Lastly, employers need to terminate the employees with care with the present of
witnesses or security who can make a threat to others.
Finally, employers also need to give focus and concern for the violence
toward women at work. According to the statistic, a lot of women became the
victims of the violence at the workplace. One of the major reasons maybe
because women is weaker when facing violence as compared to men. Employers need
to establish procedures for women to report violence cases and start a
mediation program to resolve the violence issues rather than left unattended.