Hidden Threats: There are Steps you can Take to Prevent Violence in the Workplace

Jason Morris

We wrote a great white paper on workplace violence a few months ago.  Where ours concentrates on the use of background checks, this article offers other tips.

Hidden Threats
There are steps you can take to prevent violence in the workplace

By: Steven R. Peltin and Gregg O. McCrary

More than 70 percent of workplaces in the United States have no formal program or policy to address workplace violence. Yet, as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates, 2 million people each year are victims of workplace violence. Eliminating all such violence may be impossible, but employers can and should confront the problem in the following ways:

1. Take security precautions. Companies may deter violent acts by making changes to the workplace or to workplace procedures. If the perpetrator cannot enter the workplace or is intercepted before reaching the intended target, violence may be averted. Precautions could include controlled access to the workplace, enhanced lighting and visibility, alarms, closed-circuit cameras and cellular phones. Employee training is particularly important. Government or private security professionals can assist in evaluating and upgrading security.

2. Screen applicants carefully. Employers should try to exclude candidates with a history of violence or other unsuitable behavior.

3. Adopt and enforce a “zero tolerance” policy for violence or threats of violence. Companies should create a clear policy so the entire organization understands the commitment to proper workplace behavior and the protocol to follow in case of threats or violent conduct. Companies should ensure that the policy is enforced rigorously. Violence or threats in the workplace should lead to termination of employment or exclusion of visitors from the workplace.

4. Create and train a response team. Even smaller employers should have an experienced team to confront threats of violence


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Jason Morris

President & Chief Operating Officer at EmployeeScreenIQ
A veteran screening and risk management professional, Jason Morris founded EmployeeScreenIQ in 1999 and acts as the company’s chief operating officer and president. Morris is a frequent speaker delivering captivating, interactive discussions on background checks, global screening, recruitment and staffing. He educates audiences in best practice initiatives as they relate to organizational employment screening programs. Morris has been quoted in numerous business and industry publications including The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com, USA Today, New York Times, among others. He is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona and Nevada.
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