printech, December, 2003
Tips: Preventing Workplace Violence

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From: Gary Jones ( )
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2003 15:17:04

FYI - From Security Products eNews

Tips: Preventing workplace violence

According to a new study, the majority of the workforce does not recognize the potential warning signs of workplace violence. According to the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses Inc., which commissioned the study, findings such as this indicate the need for employee education and training on workplace violence.

"AAOHN's study found that nearly 20 percent of the entire workforce claimed they have experienced an episode of workplace violence first-hand, yet the majority still do not know what to look for when it comes to determining potential offender characteristics," said AAOHN President Susan A. Randolph. "These findings alone define a significant need for companies to commit to and implement workplace violence education and prevention programs. Without employee education, a company will be far less able to diffuse a potential violent situation before it arises."

AAOHN's survey was designed to gauge employee knowledge around the issue of workplace violence and demonstrate the need for violence prevention education. To help ensure survey accuracy, experts from the FBI's National Center for Analysis and Violent Crime, who are currently developing a workplace violence monograph available to companies later this year, were consulted during the development of survey criteria.

Workplace violence prevention

In response to findings such as the ones outlined in the AAOHN survey and the overarching prevalence of workplace violence among the workforce, AAOHN and the FBI offer the following guidance to help companies develop workplace prevention and education programs.
• Management should conduct a thorough organizational risk assessment and develop workplace violence prevention policies and programs that address potential risks in environmental design (security cameras, key card access), administrative controls and behavioral strategies.
• Programs should clearly define the spectrum of workplace violence (ranging from harassment to homicide), delineate employee responsibilities for recognizing and reporting signs, and be shared with every employee. All programs should promote zero tolerance.
• Ask for and integrate employee ideas when developing and implementing a violence prevention program.
• Create a confidential and seamless reporting system. Encourage workers to report any and all concerns to a single representative, such as an occupational health and safety professional or human resource manager.
• Incorporate a variety of communications tools such as posters, newsletters, staff meetings and new employee materials.
• When training employees, review common warning signs, behavioral traits and how to recognize potential problems. Employees should also understand that each case is different and not limit at risk behavior to a standard profile.
• Involve all employees in workplace violence prevention programs. Training should be ongoing and mandatory for every employee.
• As an employee, actively participate in all education and awareness programs. If you do not have a violence prevention program at work, request information from your occupational health department, human resources department or manager.
• As an employee, if you recognize that a colleague exhibits at risk behavior, report any concerns to your human resources representative or occupational health professional.

The AAOHN Workplace Violence Survey was conducted by International Communications Research in October 2003 and included 500 telephone interviews among full-time employees ages 18 years and older

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