Establish a zero-tolerance policy for workplace violence
Many people believe that workplace violence is strictly physical assault. Violence in the workplace covers much more. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) defines workplace violence as, “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” While many cases go unreported, OSHA states that every year almost 2 million American workers report that they’ve been the victims of workplace violence. Here are a few important points to prevent workplace violence in your company.
Groups at Risk of Workplace Violence
According to Osha.gov, groups that have the highest risk include:
- Workers who exchange money with the public
- Delivery drivers
- Healthcare professionals
- Public service workers
- Customer service agents
- Law enforcement personnel
- People who work alone or in small groups
Consider factors such as the layout of the workspace, lighting, and security of the workplace. Also, considering adopting new work practices and being aware of your daily routine will help reduce risk.
- Workplace design
- Position the reception area or service counter so it is visible to fellow employees or members of the public passing by.
- Position office furniture so that the employee is closer to a door or exit than a client so that the employee cannot be cornered.
- Use coded cards or keys to control access to the building or certain areas within the building.
- Use adequate interior lighting around the workplace and near entrances.
- Work practices
- Prepare a daily work plan, so that others know when you are supposed to be somewhere.
- Use the “buddy system”, especially when you feel your personal safety may be threatened.
- Check the credentials of clients.
How to Reduce Workplace Hazards
- Establish a zero-tolerance company policy towards workplace violence.
- Assess work sites regularly.
- Implement a prevention program for your company.
Advantages of Having a Written Policy Regarding Workplace Violence
- Gives employees a clear definition of what is considered inappropriate and what is not acceptable in the workplace.
- Provides a reference for what to do when incidents occur.
- Having knowledge that such a written policy exists will encourage employees to report incidents and will protect the company.
Inspired to implement workplace violence awareness at your company? Here’s a link to a list of prevention programs and additional resources provided by OSHA, leaders in occupational health and safety: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/evaluation.html
For information on how to reduce the risk of worker injuries, check out our blog post on 5 Ways to Increase Safety in the Workplace: https://n-o-v-a.com/blog/5-ways-increase-safety-workplace/
Nova Medical Centers specializes in occupational medicine. We focus on the patient and getting them healthy sooner so that they can make the workforce stronger. Contact us to learn more about our services to help maximize employee health and productivity.
Written by: Jessica Hurd