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Violence in the Workplace: Identifying Costs and Preventative Solutions

NCJ Number
Security Journal Volume: 14 Issue: 1 Dated: 2001 Pages: 67-74
Sandra M. Hughes
Date Published
8 pages
This article describes the main types of workplace violence, identifies some reasons why individuals may become violent, assesses the costs and liability that employers face in dealing with this issue, and presents some proactive solutions that companies can adopt to counter this problem.
Workplace violence includes violence by strangers, customers/clients, coworkers, and outsiders in personal relationships with workers. Workplace violence is costly to businesses in many areas. Employers are legally responsible to their employees for providing a safe working environment. If this legal obligation is not met, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration may impose penalties for willful or repeat violations. State laws may also add additional penalties. There are several proactive strategies that businesses can take to counter workplace violence. One approach is to institute a written policy on the issue. Another proactive response is to develop a workplace violence prevention program, which might provide for establishing a threat assessment team, guidelines for assessing hazards, record keeping, training, incident reporting, and follow-up procedures. Employers can also address workplace violence issues by developing sound policies and procedures for the hiring and retention of staff. By developing and committing to a policy of zero tolerance of workplace violence, companies are better equipped to prevent incidents in their facility, and they are better prepared to respond appropriately if an incident should occur. 47 notes