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Workplace violence: How employers can prevent it

(© Rainer Fuhrmann –

Although there are laws in place that aim to prevent workplace violence, problems still occur. As many as 20 people were murdered and 18,000 were assaulted while working back in 1996. Fast-forward around two decades later and the number was reduced to 16% of people killed in the workplace as a result of workplace violence. This speaks to the need for employers to be diligent in upholding the laws to keep their employees safe.

There are certain measures that all employers should take to ensure the safety of all employees. It’s important to understand the statistics of the problem of violence in the workplace as well.

Who is most at risk for workplace violence?

Certain people are more likely to experience workplace violence. Generally, they are distinguished by gender and occupation. For example, women are more at risk of violence in the workplace. They have twice the rate of being killed while on the job compared with men at 19 percent to 8 percent. If a woman works with her domestic partner, she has an even greater risk of being killed at the workplace at 32 percent.

According to statistics posted in Injury Facts 2016, the following occupations have the highest risk of workplace violence:

  • Government work
  • Educational and health service work
  • Professional and business work

Taxi drivers, healthcare professionals and social workers face the highest risks of violence in the workplace. Additional professionals are seeing an uptick in violence as well. For employees in the above-mentioned professions, workplace violence ranks as the third-highest leading cause of on-the-job fatalities.

Occupations that carry the highest risk of workplace violence are those that have interactions with the public, serve alcohol and are open after dark.

Examples of workplace violence

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there are four categories of workplace violence [source]. They include the following:

  • Violent acts committed by criminals who don’t have any relationship with the workplace but who enter to commit robbery or another type of crime.
  • Acts of violence directed at employees by customers, clients, patients, inmates, students or any other person who receives goods or services from the organization.
  • Violent acts committed by current or former employees against coworkers, supervisors or managers.
  • Violent acts committed in the workplace by someone who doesn’t work there but who has a personal relationship with someone who does, usually an abusive spouse or domestic partner.

How workplace violence training can help

Unfortunately, the data is lacking regarding the effectiveness of various types of training programs aimed at preventing workplace violence. At the same time, there is research that shows that even a small amount of effort can work toward preventing acts of violence in the workplace. One of the best ways to decrease the risk of it occurring is to implement a zero tolerance policy, which is something that has been done in healthcare.

It’s important for companies to go deeper than this with their anti-workplace violence measures. However, even small efforts can make a difference. There must be clear and concise steps toward training your employees to prevent violence in the workplace. Creating a supportive environment, training employees to recognize the warning signs, communicating openly, providing empathy training and creating an action plan that’s shared with all employees are all essential steps.

Overall, you will want to create an environment for your employees where they feel comfortable to report any potential warning signs [source]. If an employee, customer or someone else seems to be off, people need to promptly report them so that the potential situation can be stopped before it happens. Implementing security in the workplace is also wise.

If you have been a victim of workplace violence, you need to speak with a negligent security lawyer to learn about your rights and how to start a claim. Take immediate action so that your rights can be protected.


Story by Timothy Walton. Walton is a law school graduate and a freelance blogger with a knack for self-sufficiency. He also has three successful home business ideas under his belt. Currently, Timothy is working as a collaborative editor for Ben Crump Law Firm. In his free time, when he is not strolling outside his lake house in rural Georgia with his two Labs, Rex and Lucilla, he is either trying his hand at writing a novel or daydreaming about his next nomadic adventure.

augusta free press
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