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How You can Prevent Workplace Violence

November 10, 2021

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According to OSHA, two million American workers are victims of workplace violence every year. Workplace violence can happen anywhere. You and your employees may be at risk. To protect yourself and your employees, you need to notice the warning signs of violence and understand how to deescalate situations.

The idea that someone “just snapped” and became violent without warning is a myth. Workplace violence is not random or unpredictable. There are several warning signs to stay aware of. People generally display these warning signs through their behavior. Be aware of behaviors such as hypersensitivity to criticism, obsession with a supervisor or coworker, hanging onto a grievance against the company, a preoccupation with violent themes, interest in recently publicized violent events, and extreme disorganization. Also keep an eye out for drug or alcohol abuse, employees who are marginalized by their friends or colleagues, sudden and dramatic changes in an employees’ home life, and increasingly erratic, unsafe, or aggressive behaviors, as these behaviors are common warning signs of workplace violence.

To prevent workplace violence, you must stay aware of your surroundings, your employees, and their behaviors and reactions. Staying aware is the first step in prevention. The second step in the prevention of workplace violence is to stay calm and collected. It is far too easy to become worked up and angry in a stressful situation. Remember, if you become angry, then you are likely making the situation worse, not better. In high-intensity situations, you should take time to breathe, count to 10 before responding, and if necessary, leave the situation entirely.

After you are calm, you can try to deescalate the situation. It is important in these high-intensity situations to communicate respect and empathy for the individual and listen to what they are saying. Also, use open body language while de-escalating as this will naturally help the other person calm down. Remember, if you find yourself getting angry or upset, then you may need to leave the situation entirely.

Our Violence in the Workplace Safety Training covers each warning sign of workplace violence, how to prevent violence in your workplace, and how to respond to violence when it occurs. Check out this and our other safety trainings today!

Good luck and stay safe!

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