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Violence in the Workplace

The best way to handle violence in the workplace is to prevent it. To curtail violence among employees in your business, take the following steps:

  • Accept the possibility that workplace violence can occur in your workplace.
  • Review your recruiting and hiring procedures — where permitted, institute criminal background checks and carefully check all references and former employers.
  • Check external and internal security.
    • Where appropriate, use a screening system.
    • Determine if more stringent security measures are necessary.
    • Provide external security to prohibit uncontrolled access by outsiders throughout the company.
  • Identify those members of your staff (such as yourself) who may be likely targets and establish procedures to control access to them.
  • Take every known threat seriously. Follow up and investigate completely.
  • Know the warning signs of a troubled employee.
  • Prohibit the possession of all weapons, either inside the workplace or transported in an employee's vehicle on company property.
    Due to rising concerns of violence in the workplace, states have responded with their own laws that employers need to be aware of. These laws may affect whether or not weapons can be prohibited and other employer policies concerning violence on company property.
  • Make sure all employees know how to reach your local police, ambulance, and security company if you have one.
  • Attempt to develop a workplace environment that fosters trust among existing employees and management.
  • Develop policies against all forms of violence including harassment and enforce them consistently and universally.
  • Establish grievance procedures.
  • If you need to fire an employee, do so with sensitivity, in a way that preserves the employee's dignity.
  • Establish exit interview procedures that collect company keys, identification, etc., and alert you to any potential problems.
  • Install routine security procedures when employees are fired.
  • Emphasize humane and respectful treatment of all employees and pay particular attention to those who are terminated.
  • Know how to prevent and handle workplace fighting.
  • Know how to handle a violent incident, if one should occur.

OSHA. You should also be aware that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), mandates that employers provide a safe work environment for their employees.