Tips: Workplace Violence Warning Signs

THE first step to mitigating the threat of workplace violence is to develop a violence prevention program. "This should include a violence policy statement, which is your organization's definition of violence as it relates specifically to your facility, people and its risks," said Steve Jones, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Universal Protection Service, a security company.

A comprehensive program also includes the procedures for educating and training employees, the measures required for investigating and evaluating a threat or attack and the resources, such as assistance programs, needed for employees and their families.

"Knowing and recognizing the warning signs of workplace violence can significantly reduce the opportunity for an attack or threat to occur," Jones said. Warning signs to watch for include:

  • A history of violent behavior.
  • An obsession with weapons.
  • Making direct or veiled threats of harm.
  • Intimidating others and/or instilling fear in peers and supervisors.
  • An obsessive involvement with a job -- no outside interests.
  • Holding a grudge or not taking criticism well.
  • Expressing extreme depression and/or anger.
  • Changing events in the workplace that generate additional levels of stress.

For more information on workplace violence, visit http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/index.html.

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