This course provides you with recommendations on steps to consider in developing a workplace violence prevention program to reduce the hazards of workplace violence. These are guidelines only. Safety Insight does not intend to create rules specific to violence in the workplace. While not every suggestion may be appropriate for all organizations, these recommendations provide an excellent means for quickly assessing the state of an organization's current policies and practices. Special thanks to the U.S. Interagency Security Committee and the FBI Critical Incident Response Group for providing most of the information within this course. Primary sources: Violence in the Federal Workplace: A guide for Prevention and Response and Workplace Violence - Issues in Response.
Across the nation, violence in the workplace is emerging as a significant occupational hazard. All too frequently, employees become victims of violent acts that result in substantial physical or emotional harm. For injured or threatened employees, workplace violence can lead to medical treatment, missed work, lost wages, and decreased productivity.
For many occupations, workplace violence represents a serious occupational risk. Violence at work can take many forms: harassment, intimidation, threats, theft, stalking, assault, arson, sabotage, bombing, hostage-taking, kidnapping, extortion, suicide, and homicide. Homicide is the second leading cause of all job-related deaths and the leading cause of such deaths for women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (1994). For each murder, there are countless other incidents of workplace violence in which victims are threatened or injured.
The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act's General Duty Clause requires employers to provide a safe and healthful working environment for all workers covered by the OSH Act of 1970. Failure to implement the suggestions mentioned in this document is not in itself a violation of the General Duty Clause. If there is a recognized violence hazard in the workplace and employers do not take feasible steps to prevent or abate it, employers can be cited.
The central theme which emerges from the shared experience of these specialists from different disciplines is this: While some cases of workplace violence can be dealt with swiftly and easily by a manager with the assistance of just one specialist or one department. Most cases can be resolved far more easily and effectively if there is a joint effort which has been planned out in advance by specialists from different disciplines.
Many who have never experienced workplace violence think, "I don't need to worry about this" or "It would never happen in my department." Violent incidents are relatively rare, but they do occur, and lives can be lost. A little preparation and investment in prevention now could save a life. There is no strategy that works for every situation, but the likelihood of a successful resolution is much greater if you have prepared ahead of time. This course is designed to help you do that: Be prepared for violence in the workplace.
Employers can take several steps to reduce the risk of legal liability. For example, they can implement careful hiring, employee evaluation and discipline procedures, and adopt appropriate workplace security procedures. However, employers must be careful not to violate laws protecting employee privacy rights, civil rights, or rights created by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Employers conducting workplace violence risk assessments may want to consult with legal counsel.
The experience of companies who have developed programs has shown that managers are more willing to confront employees who exhibit disruptive and intimidating behavior when they are supported by a group of specialists who have done their homework and are prepared to reach out to others when they know a situation is beyond their expertise. This team approach promotes creative solutions and much needed support for the manager in dealing with difficult situations that might otherwise be ignored.
To begin your training, click on the module links below. If you are just starting this course, you should start with module 1.
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