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Thomas McGee, L.C. 920 Main Street, Suite 1700 Kansas City, MO 64105 (816) 842-4800 * Toll Free (800) 423-9044 PREVENTING VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE. Workplace Violence. 2 million workers are victims each year

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Thomas McGee, L.C. 920 Main Street, Suite 1700 Kansas City, MO 64105 (816) 842-4800 * Toll Free (800) 423-9044

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Thomas mcgee l c 920 main street suite 1700 kansas city mo 64105 816 842 4800 toll free 800 423 9044 www thomasmcgee com

Thomas McGee, L.C.

920 Main Street, Suite 1700

Kansas City, MO 64105

(816) 842-4800 * Toll Free (800) 423-9044


Workplace violence

Workplace Violence

  • 2 million workers are victims each year

  • Homicide – 4th leading cause of occupational fatalities in U.S.

  • Homicide – leading cause of death for women in the workplace

    • Total declined by 7% in 2010

    • Those involving women increased by 13% in 2010

    • 17% of their alleged attackers were current or former husbands or boyfriends



What definitions are associated with workplace violence prevention?

What are the four categories of workplace violence?

What are the general risk factors and common prevention actions?

What are the components of an effective prevention program?

What do you do after an incident of violence?

What are some resources available for this topic?

Definition of a workplace

Definition of a Workplace

Building or work area, including offices, reception areas, hallways

A remote site when workers are engaged in business

A vehicle, private or employer owned, when used for business purposes

Workplace violence definition

Workplace Violence Definition

  • Three main types of violence:

    • Verbal Abuse / Threats

    • Threatening Behavior

    • Physical Assault

  • Any of these behaviors alone or together constitute an incident

  • Verbal abuse vs threats

    Verbal Abuse vs. Threats

    • Are abuse and threats different?

    • Abuse may be intended to hurt feelings or humiliate someone

      • May include profanity

      • Obscene phone calls

    • Threats create fear and cause concern for safety

    Four categories of violence

    Four Categories of Violence

    Violence by Strangers

    Violence by Customers or Clients

    Violence by Co-Workers

    Violence by Personal Relations

    Violence by strangers

    Violence By Strangers

    Usually involves criminal intent

    Someone enters workplace to commit a robbery or crime

    Risk factors violence by strangers

    Risk Factors – Violence By Strangers

    Face-to-face contact with public

    Exchange money with public

    Guard valuable property

    Work late night/early morning

    Work alone or in small numbers

    High crime area or community settings

    Working with unstable or volatile persons (social service and criminal justice settings)

    Mobile workplaces

    Prevention violence by strangers

    Prevention – Violence By Strangers

    Drop safe or limited access safe

    Silent alarms

    Adequate lighting

    Control access to worksite

    Install security cameras

    Provide security personnel

    Address employee isolation factors

    Train workers in prevention

    Violence by customers or clients

    Violence By Customers or Clients

    • Assailant receives services from or is under custodial supervision of workplace or victim

    • This type of violence accounts for most non-fatal injuries

    • Assailants can be current or former customers or clients

    • High risk occupations:

      • Bus drivers, social service providers, health care workers, teachers, law enforcement employees

    Risk factors violence by customers and clients

    Risk Factors – Violence By Customers and Clients

    Work in isolation

    Work after regular hours

    Site has uncontrolled access

    Clients with past violent behavior

    Potential weapons visible and accessible, including desk supplies and heavy objects

    Lack of quick communication capability to security

    Lack of escape route

    Prevention violence by customers and clients

    Prevention – Violence By Customers and Clients

    Provide a quick method to alert security – panic buttons, personal alarms

    Limit employee isolation with customers or clients

    Implement client referral and/or assistance programs

    Set up worksite so employees have easy exit – escape route

    Eliminate access to any weapons

    Violence by co workers

    Violence By Co-Workers

    Assailant has employment related involvement – usually a current or former employee or manager

    Often seeking revenge when feel they are a victim of unfair treatment

    Risk factors violence by co workers

    Risk Factors – Violence By Co-Workers

    Staff cuts

    Excessive overtime

    Stressful work environment

    Stress outside of workplace


    Personality differences

    Substance abuse

    Lack of protocols for discipline

    History of violent behavior

    Lack of training

    Prevention violence by co workers

    Prevention – Violence By Co-Workers

    Develop management policies for disciplinary actions, lay-off’s, terminations, etc.

    Prohibit weapons at work

    Enforce a no tolerance policy for workplace violence

    Encourage employee assistance and counseling

    Violence by personal relations

    Violence By Personal Relations

    • Assailant confronts an employee at the worksite with whom they have a personal relationship outside of work

      • Current or Former Spouse

      • Lover

      • Friend

      • Relative

      • Acquaintance

    Risk factors violence by personal relations

    Risk Factors – Violence By Personal Relations

    Individual with history of violent or threatening behavior

    Domestic violence offender

    Lack of providing controlled access to worksite

    No policy regarding restraining orders or protection of employees dealing with potentially threatening domestic issues

    Prevention violence by personal relations

    Prevention – Violence By Personal Relations

    Control worksite access

    Encourage employees to report harassment, stalking, domestic violence, restraining orders

    Enforce policies on prevention and how to handle violent confrontations

    Relocate employee to safe worksite

    Notify other staff as needed

    Prohibit weapons

    Components of effective workplace violence prevention program

    Components of Effective Workplace Violence Prevention Program



    • Planning

    Establish and implement policies

    Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

    Develop training program

    Review program regularly



    • Policies

    • Should clearly indicate zero-tolerance of violence at work

    • Review by legal counsel

    • Update periodically as necessary

    • Train on policies

      • New

      • Amended

      • Existing



    • Training

    Review policies

    Implement and/or discuss EAP

    Practice effective pre-employment screening methods

    Train management and employees

    Effective termination and layoff practices

    Recognize and report potential workplace violence problems

    Review crisis response plan

    Physical security

    Physical Security

    • Physical Security

    • Conduct threat assessment

    • Exterior access control

      • Gates, fencing, alarm system, cameras

    • Interior access control

      • Locked doors, enclosed counters, cameras, door access cards/codes

    • Emergency plans

    How employers can protect employees

    How Employers Can Protect Employees

    • Provide safety education for employees

      • What conduct is not acceptable

      • What to do if they witness or are subjected to workplace violence

      • How to protect themselves

    • Secure the workplace

      • Install video surveillance where appropriate

      • Extra lighting

      • Alarm systems

      • Minimize access by outsiders

    How employers can protect employees cont

    How Employers Can Protect Employees (cont.)

    Equip field staff with cell phones

    Require field staff to prepare daily work plan and keep a contact person informed of their location throughout the day

    Keep employer-provided vehicles properly maintained

    Instruct employees not to enter any location where they feel unsafe

    Have a “buddy system”, escort or police assistance in potentially dangerous situations

    How employees can protect themselves

    How Employees Can Protect Themselves

    Learn how to recognize, avoid or diffuse potentially violent situations

    Alert supervisors to any safety or security concerns

    Report all incidents immediately in writing

    Avoid traveling alone into unfamiliar locations or situations when possible

    Carry only minimal money and required information into community settings

    Handling violent situations

    Handling Violent Situations

    Familiarize yourself with company policies and emergency procedures

    Report any physical or verbal threats

    Never touch a violent person

    Use a calm, non-confrontational approach

    Take all threats seriously

    Familiarize yourself with resources available

    Seek immediate assistance if situation escalates

    In emergency situation

    In Emergency Situation

    Call 911 and security personnel if you have them

    Make sure to call using a phone out of sight and hearing of violent person

    If you can, stay on the line until police arrive

    Do not intervene physically

    Get yourself and others to a safe place as soon as possible

    Following an incident of violence

    Following an Incident of Violence

    Provide for immediate medical and psychological needs

    Notify police and support them in their investigation

    Account for all workers and assure continued safety of those remaining in the area

    Provide accurate communication to agencies, media and law enforcement

    Provide EAP or other counseling services for employees if needed

    Assure confidentiality and protection from discrimination to prevent victims suffering further loss

    Following an incident of violence cont

    Following an Incident of Violence (cont.)

    Assure a detailed investigation is performed

    Include all incidents and near misses

    Do not delay, important evidence can be destroyed

    Focus on fact finding

    Keep detailed records

    Following an incident of violence cont1

    Following an Incident of Violence (cont.)

    Collect facts on who, what, when, where and how incident occurred

    Get witness statements

    Photograph damage/injuries

    Identify contributing causes

    Recommend corrective action

    Consider changes in controls, procedures, or policies

    Top 10 ways to prevent violence in the workplace

    Top 10 Ways To Prevent Violence In The Workplace

    • Foster a supportive, harmonious work environment

    • Train supervisors and employees how to resolve conflicts

      • Negotiating skills

      • Effective communication

      • Team building

      • Resolving disputes

  • Develop effective policies to protect employees from harassment – defines harassment, specifies how to report it, explains how complaints will be investigated, presents consequences

  • Top 10 ways to prevent violence in the workplace cont

    Top 10 Ways To Prevent Violence In The Workplace (cont.)

    • Establish procedures for handling grievances

    • Provide personal counseling through an EAP

      • Train supervisors how to refer employees for help

  • Implement security programs that protect employees

  • Provide employee safety education programs

  • Provide job counseling for employees who have been laid off or fired

  • Train supervisors how to recognize signs of a troubled employee

  • Set up a crisis plan

  • Resources


    Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) -

    National Crime Prevention Council -

    National Center for Victims of Crime -

    Employee Assistance Program Provider

    Osha resources


    Go to WWW. OSHA.GOV

    Search for “workplace violence” in the search box at the top right corner of the home page

    You will find a great number of useful resources including:

    Workplace violence prevention

    Workplace Violence Prevention

    Model Policy

    Sample Forms

    Threat and Assault Log

    Five Warning Signs of Escalating Behavior

    Sample Workplace Weapons Policy

    Workplace violence prevention cont

    Workplace Violence Prevention (cont)


    Risk Factors

    Prevention Programs

    Training Resources

    Violence prevention brochure

    Violence Prevention Brochure

    What is disruptive, threatening, or violent behavior?

    Preventive steps to maintain a safe workplace

    Dealing with performance problems or conflicts

    Indicators of problem behavior

    How to respond to threatening or violent behavior

    “In an emergency”

    Post incident response

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