Workplace Violence – Warning Signs

Another senseless act of violence has been committed. Another group of families laying loved ones to rest. Another couple weeks of debate across our media spectrum. What’s wrong with us? What’s wrong with “that person”? What could we have done differently?

The ability to control these situations is often beyond our grasp. However, in the workplace, there are often warning signs that play a key role in prevention.

The Situation is Real:

  • Nearly 2 million American employees report being victims of workplace violence each year according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).
  • Violence and other injuries caused by persons or animals increased 23% to become the second-most common fatal event in 2016.
  • Homicide is the leading cause of death in the workplace for women.

Take Note of Customers/Co-Workers Whose:

  • Behavior patterns change rapidly
  • Behavior changes disrupt the work environment
  • Signs of stress are more elevated than normal

Watch For:

  • Changes in attitude
  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol
  • Excessive absences, lateness, tardiness
  • Inability to take responsibility for their actions
  • Changes in work habits
  • Making inappropriate statements
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Social isolation
  • Lack of performance
  • Complaints of unfair treatment
  • Fascination with weapons or violence
  • Overreacting to criticism
  • Sudden changes in energy
  • Poor hygiene

Nonverbal Cues:

  • Personal space violations
  • Loud talking or yelling
  • Shallow, rapid breathing
  • Avoidance of eye contact
  • Changes in voice or tone
  • Profuse sweating
  • Repetitive motions, such as pacing
  • Clenched jaw or fists
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Glaring, scowling, or sneering

Keep in Mind:

  • These warning signs don’t always lead to violence.
  • Warning signs could also be just normal changes in mood. However, drastic personality changes, or changes in situation, may bring out violent tendencies.
  • Use your best judgement before reporting issues to a supervisor.

Your safety is the primary concern.
Always Report:

  • Verbal or physical harassment
  • Verbal or physical threats
  • Assaults or other violence
  • Any behavior that causes you to feel unsafe
February 28th, 2018|