Help prevent workplace violence by establishing reporting protocols, having a professional background screening policy, training employees and performing a background check!
Workplace violence is characterized by a range of behaviors, from outright violence and homicide, to bullying, emotional abuse and stalking. According to the FBI website, recent data shows that as much as 16% of workplace fatalities were the result of workplace violence. In 2008, over 500 homicides occurred in the workplace.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics website reports that the following year—2009—there were over 550,000 non-fatal violent crimes committed in the workplace, including assault and sexual assault. The Department of Labor estimates that an astounding 2 million people are victims of workplace violence annually. These numbers are staggering. More recently, workplace violence has come to the attention of the media through shootings in public places.
Yet in some cases, workplace violence may be preventable. Although employers are unable to predict the exact time and place when workplace violence may occur, with proper action, employers may avoid incidences and maintain a safe work environment.
Reporting Protocol Implementation
Reporting protocols give employers valuable information that help them keep employees safe, but there are actually a variety of reasons to establish these policies. Establishing a standard for reporting incidents of concern shows employees that they have support in the workplace. These protocols also help establish a culture of safety in the workplace, encouraging employees to be more vigilant and concerned about the safety of themselves and their fellow employees.
Work with your team’s safety professional to establish a reporting protocol that allows your employees to report concerns to the appropriate authorities within your workplace. At the same time that you establish the reporting protocol, set up a regular routine for reviewing reports and policies for responding to incidents.
Employee workplace violence training can prevent violence in a variety of ways. Education about workplace violence teaches employees to identify warning signs of potential future violence. Through this training, employees learn how to respond in the event of a workplace-violence related emergency. This can potentially save lives or prevent dangerous situations from escalating. Finally, training programs teach employees about the reporting protocols and the official workplace violence policies in place at your job site.
Background Screening Policy and Performing a Background Check
Establishing a background screening policy and performing a criminal background check on potential employees may help you make an informed decision at the time of hire. Each state has its own laws about the type of information you can gather on potential employees before hiring and performing a background check. The U.S. Small Business Administration website provides some information about the types of background screening checks that different employers can run on potential employees.