Contributing author: Donald Jordon, DoD Anti-Terrorism Officer, Retired Army, Fenix Strategies Adviser/Instructor
OSHA defines Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide. It can affect and involve employees, clients, customers and visitors.
The outcome can be deadly. In 2014, workplace homicides claimed the lives of 403 people in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Although that figure is considerably lower than the 677 workplace homicides that occurred in 2000, it still represents 8.6 percent of 4,679 on-the-job fatalities in 2014. Meanwhile, OSHA has stated that almost 2 million people report workplace violence every year, and many more cases likely go unreported.
Workplace violence could start with an employee pushing or intimidating another co-worker. This behavior if tolerated, could lead to a more serious pattern of crime by the aggressor. Potential Active Shooter incidents or Active Attacker assaults, could stem from previous less violent behavior that went non-reported or unseen by a witness. It is important to try and notify a Senior Manager about Workplace violence issues and to have the aggressor counseled for his or her actions.
Key steps to preventing Workplace violence are, build a relationship and know your employees. Know when one of your employee’s behavior is out of the ordinary. Train your supervisors and other co-workers that reporting unusual and violent behavior is expected and positive. Give the employee and potentially violent person some help and counseling. Leadership is key to preventing future acts of Workplace violence from occurring and maintaining good order in the workplace.
We at Fenix Strategies, train our clients and your family to be ready for the Workplace violence event. Our experienced instructors are Retired Law Enforcement, Military and Special Operations personnel. The author is currently a DoD Antiterrorism Officer and Protections Operations Specialist. His views represent Fenix Strategies and not the Department of Defense or any Military branch of service or company.