Workplace violence is on the rise across the U.S. No business, big or small, is immune from the potential risk. Workplace violence is defined as the act or threat of violence, ranging from verbal abuse to physical assaults, directed toward people at work.
Also included in this context is domestic violence that spills over into the workplace in the form of assaults, threats or other actions by outside parties with whom employees have relationships.
Let’s look at a few workplace violence statistics that I am quite sure will get your attention.
- 2 Million people become victims of workplace violence annually.
- 1 in 7 people does not feel safe in their workplace.
- In 2020, 30% of the people said they were unaware of their organization’s workplace violence safety plan.
- 30,000 workplace sexual assaults are reported by women annually.
Start with a plan
Having a pro-active workplace violence plan is not an option, it is a necessity for any business. Document a plan and more importantly, make sure all personnel are aware of the plan, are trained, and are prepared to act.
Consider Access control
Do you have tools in place to screen employees and visitors coming into your location? Where are your entrances and how are each of them protected? If appropriate for your place of business, consider layers of control, such as badges, turnstiles or metal detectors.
Where are your points of greatest risk both inside and outside of your buildings? Can you monitor these access points with 24/7 video? Work with professional security technicians to help identify industry best practices and tools to support your plan.
Ask for help assessing security from local law enforcement professionals. In the event of a violent incident, their knowledge of your policies and plan could save time and lives.
Once your policies and plan are on paper, make it real by communicating thoroughly and regularly with all personnel, as well as law enforcement and emergency services.
Have a zero-tolerance policy. Communicate that ALL workplace violence incidents are to be reported, no exceptions. Workplace violence is a growing concern for all of us.
Employees are a company’s most important asset – I encourage you to take time to put a policy and plan in place that helps create a safe working environment for everyone.