The failure to prioritize workplace safety measures increases the risk of workplace violence. If employees are unaware of safety protocols, they cannot prepare for, or respond to, violence in the workplace. Today we will explore how adequate policies, automation tools, and documentation can protect companies and their employees from violence in the workplace.
Let us begin!
There are many misconceptions surrounding workplace violence. Frequently, workplace violence takes the form of physical altercations or violence, like a mass shooting. As a result, many businesses believe that such incidents will never happen to them. However, violence in the workplace encompasses much more than violent physical incidents, and can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time.
As part of its mandate, OSHA enforces standards that ensure a safe working environment. In accordance with OSHA’s definition, workplace violence includes abusive or threatening behavior at the workplace, harassment, intimidation, or other disruptive acts. Furthermore, businesses that fail to recognize workplace violence risk having poor safety practices, putting their employees and business at risk.
Developing Workplace Violence Policies
Although, employers are responsible for the safety of their employees. Policies and procedures are just the beginning of developing a workplace violence prevention program. Often, there are many other elements involved. As well as following a zero-tolerance policy that entails enforcing appropriate disciplinary measures after violating the rules. Additionally, it should establish a positive work culture that ensures employees have a support system willing to address their concerns and thoroughly prioritize their protection.
Frequently, the misunderstanding of policies in organizations happens when they are unclear or overcomplicated. However, employees should understand policies clearly to do their jobs safely and efficiently. Businesses should also have interconnecting policies that itemize every detail regarding how to handle violence in the workplace appropriately. While each policy varies depending on the business’s specific needs, all should communicate and address the following:
- How is workplace violence defined?
- What types of actions constitute workplace violence?
- How should employees report inappropriate, unusual, or suspicious behavior?
- What are the security measures in place at the workplace?
- What resources are available for staff?
- How should company personnel respond to external threats from patients, clients, visitors, or customers?
- What are the communication policies among each level of your staff?
- What actions should the company take following an incident of workplace violence?
- How to address workplace violence involving discrimination or harassment based on race, gender, sexuality, religion, age, or disability?
- What is the investigative process of a reported claim?
Although, conflict resolution is at the heart of employee training and development. In addition to training, employees can identify abnormal or suspicious behavior and potential workplace violence. Furthermore, workers will learn de-escalation techniques helpful for handling a potentially violent situation and discern when specific threats are out of their control. Training sessions should include all staff members and not focus solely on low-level employees. Every employee benefits from this training regardless of the department of level.
A workplace violence plan outlines the policies and actions employees must follow before, during, and after violent incidents. However, a prevention plan is needed to customize each company’s needs. A crisis management plan, an incident recovery response, etc., are all examples of strategy. Additionally, employees must practice emergency action plans to prepare for an occurrence. Ultimately, this is because they must follow it when dealing with physical injury, verbal threats, or when communicating with local law enforcement.
Case in point, an assessment team is a group of experts that analyze, investigate, and determine the validity of potential threats to a workplace. In addition, team members monitor and track threatening situations to help aid in the corrective action process. Whatever the case, improving existing policies and procedures are always possible.
Remote Workplace Violence
While society continues to navigate the pandemic, it’s unlikely that organizations have business continuity plans addressing remote violence in the workplace. Since many people work remotely, one might assume violence in the workplace would decline. Instead, however, the toll of COVID-19 could exacerbate violent behaviors.
For instance, essential workers and those in the healthcare profession are at a higher risk of being a victim of violence due to negative interaction with patients or customers refusing to follow COVID-19 mandates. As for remote work, individuals that suffer domestic and family violence no longer have the office to provide protection. Moreover, the pandemic is, unfortunately, creating the perfect conditions for employees to experience increased violence. The stress and anxiety of the pandemic, the death of loved ones, job insecurity, unemployment, financial strain, hygiene guidelines, remote learning, and more may contribute to an individual lashing out violently, on-site or virtually.
While organizations use traditional strategies previously mentioned to minimize the risk of violence in the workplace, the technological process can also help employees work remotely.
How can automation help with violence in the workplace?
Employees can stay safe with mobile apps, software, online courses, and artificial intelligence. Currently, there are mobile apps employees can use to report a workplace incident as soon as it happens. On the other hand, some apps allow users to upload photos, videos, and audio of any suspicious behavior. Besides, companies have also created Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tools that can identify and flag harmful electronic messages in real-time. Businesses can also use artificial intelligence with web listening tools to track, monitor, and store any data from the internet that may indicate a potential threat.
Creating a trustworthy and respectable workspace should be a top priority for every employer. Although it is difficult to stop these incidents, businesses that implement workplace violence prevention strategies, effective policies & procedures, and automation technology can reduce the risk and impact of workplace violence, making your company a safer workplace for all employees.
How EDC Can Help
EDC has technical writers trained in technical writing, documentation, and digital communication. They can establish documentation systems that mitigate the risk of violence in your workplace by customizing workplace violence prevention strategies to ensure best practices in potential work emergencies. Additionally, Essential Data Corporation offers business training experts to assist employers with developing, modifying, and implementing workplace violence prevention programs. EDC can also help develop technical documentation to accompany your company’s automation technology.
Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish, whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project. Essential Data Corporation guarantees the quality of our work is guaranteed. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or email@example.com
Written by Kimberly Jones