With more than 2 million assaults and threats of violence occurring in workplaces throughout the United States annually, it’s no question that workplace violence is still a pressing issue. Preventing incidents of workplace violence is challenging, while predicting workplace violence situations is near impossible. The only way to ensure that your business and employees are safe is to implement mandatory workplace violence training for all employees, management and crisis team members. The key to mitigating risk and injury is to make sure that everyone understands proper protocol and is on the same page in the event a workplace violence situation does occur at your business. It’s not just violence in the workplace that people need to look out for though, as a business you should also be aware of your employees getting injured at work as well. It’s not just your employees though, but your potential customers. For example, your business might be a mechanics shop. Mechanics work in a hazardous environment, which is why it is important for you as a business to try and make sure that accidents don’t happen. However, no matter how hard you try mechanic shop accidents will occur. So the best thing that you can do, is to try and minimise the risk of this happening (and one way to do that is to reduce the violence in the workplace).
Training Employees to Recognize the Signs of Workplace Violence
When you think of training for workplace violence, the first thing that comes to mind is training employees on how to respond to an active situation. What you might not realize is by training your employees on how to recognize signs of suspicious behavior and distress in others, you can take steps towards mitigating an incident before it even happens.
Here are a few ways to help recognize signs of workplace violence:
- Irritability, anger or inability to control emotions
- Declining productivity or difficulty concentrating on daily tasks
- Lack of emotion or social isolation
- Excessive absenteeism
- Disrespect for authority or other co-workers
It is important that you discuss signs of workplace violence with your employees and encourage them to come forward if they notice suspicious behavior that is characteristic with potential violent behavior. All businesses should have a plan in place to properly handle a disgruntled employee. If your team don’t get along very well, it might be useful to do some Team Building Training to boost morale.
To learn more about how to handle a disgruntled employee, read Preparis’ blog, “Handling a Disgruntled Employee Before They Retaliate.”
Training Tips on how to Properly Respond to Workplace Violence
You might have an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and a Business Continuity Plan (BCP), but if your employees are not familiar with how to act on those plans, then I hate to break it to you, but your plans are essentially useless. When an incident occurs, especially workplace violence, people tend to freak out and freeze up. It’s easy to say you know exactly how you would respond if a shooting were to occur in your office, but in all reality, would you really know what to do? Probably not. In fact, 69% of companies polled by Preparis said they did not feel that their company was adequately prepared should an active shooter incident occur. If your business lands in that 69%, then your first step towards preparing for a similar situation should be to put an emphasis on workplace violence training.
Here are a few ways improve the training efforts at your business:
- Don’t assume that everyone knows the basics, because they probably don’t. When training employees, start with the basics and move forward from there. This will ensure that every individual at your business is on the same page with how they should be responding to a workplace violence incident from start to finish. Human error accounts for the majority of all additional injury and damage caused during an emergency. Take the time to immerse your employees in the training to ensure they fully understand the proper protocols when it comes to responding to a workplace violence situation.
- Make sure you are training your employees often, and by often, I mean once or twice a year. It might seem like overkill, but you never know when a situation will arise and it is crucial that all employees feel confident on their ability to protect themselves and others. If you don’t have time to hold in person trainings, Preparis’ interactive, online-based training courses are a great option.
- Walk through your business’ workplace violence response plan by utilizing tabletop exercises. This gives management and crisis teams the ability to sit down and discuss what they would do during a specific incident and evaluate whether or not it is the best course of action. Tabletop exercises give businesses the ability to identify where their plans have gaps and need improvement.
Click here for a list of tabletop exercises offered by Preparis.
Find out how Preparis can help protect your business from workplace violence by requesting a demo today.
Click here to register for Preparis’ webinar, “How to Optimize Bomb Threat Management” on April 12th at 2pm EST.
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