It is vital that employers take the steps to help prevent the occurrence of workplace violence, and to be prepared should an incident occur. Organizations should implement policies that prevent violence in the workplace. One of the functions of the Human Resource Department is to target threats of workplace violence and to diffuse any situation being the organization’s first line of defense in the prevention of workplace violence.

Here are five frequently asked questions about workplace violence:

What are the most common types of workplace violence?

The most common types of workplace violence involve a dissatisfied current employee. The circumstances usually involve how the employee was treated or denied a privilege. An interaction resulting in a disagreement with a coworker or supervisor that lead to the employee’s termination. If an employee were to demonstrate an unusual behavior pattern, keep in mind it is important to document the changes so that there is evidence of the employee’s actions when disciplinary action is required.

What are the most effective ways to enforce security policies?

As a best practice, it is ideal to have all security policies written and documented. Organize a meeting where employees can have a thorough understanding of what the policy means in detail. Conduct training sessions where employees can actively participate and engage so that the information remains fresh and relevant.

What are some precautions that organizations should take to handle the termination of employees that may respond inappropriately?

If an employee that has been terminated recently and is considered violent, advise all personnel that employee is not permitted on company property and if the employee is seen it is acceptable to call the police. Also, ensure that all keys, ID cards, etc. have been returned by the terminated employee and cancel their electronic access immediately. Finally, explain to the employee that they are no longer permitted on company property and what the consequences are if they were to return.

How can we teach employees to protect themselves beyond standard protocol?

It is beneficial to have an outside source that is well versed in security evaluate your company for risk. A security expert can advise on the safety of your property and the safety of your employees. Educate your employees about safety protocol and communicate with pertinent staff about any employees that are of concern on a consistent basis.

What are some of the signs that employers look for that indicate a potentially unsafe employee?

  • Endless complaints
  • Disregard when confronted about their destructive behavior
  • Requests for multiple job transfers
  • Erratic behavior that disregards company policy and procedures
  • Threats to other employees and supervisors
  • Mood changes and extreme moods

If you are knowledgeable and watchful about workplace violence and its signs in employees, you can anticipate and take actions that may prevent its occurrence. The result of workplace violence is lack of trust and decreased morale in employees. Establishing guidelines for safety and identifying risks and providing education and the resources that your employees can access to stay safe. There is no greater gift you can provide your employees than the ability to keep them safe and avoid workplace violence.

References: Your ERC, The Balance Careers, SHRM, HR Daily Advisor