After a business grows from the initial start up period and takes on more workers, formal processes become more significant. Health and safety, recruitment and disciplinary policies should all be officially documented and communicated to workers. To help formulate and implement such policies a business should form an inner Risk Management group or employ the services of expert consultants.
One area which shouldn’t be overlooked when compiling the policies is the dilemma of violence at work. This is an issue all business owners and managers face and the only way to protect yourself, employees and clients is to be proactive in establishing patterns that help ensure violent events are avoided.
WARNING SIGNS TO LOOK FOR
Violence at work is generally not the the work of a deranged worker. Most people only resort to violence as a last resort. There’s a slow, gradual build up of frustration over a time period. Eventually some little incident provokes a violent response that’s not deemed to be within the”personality” of the perpetrator.
Workers are under enormous stress these days to hold onto a job and work long hours, often taking work home and on vacations. This adds to the amount of stress and in this type of working environment it’s very important that employees are trained to recognise the behaviors and characteristics of somebody who might resort to violence.
Signs to look for include:
- Aggressive approach to all fellow employees
- Withdrawn and unable to interact with other people
- Low self esteem
- Cannot accept authority
- Inconsistent work performance
- Acts paranoid
The list could extend farther but the significant point is that workers are trained to recognise the dander signs.
TYPES OF WORKPLACE VIOLENCE
There are various kinds of workplace violence from low grade verbal abuse involving workers to armed robbery involving clients. When assessing risks the internal team or consultants can analyse the potential for violence under these headings.
- Violence by unidentified strangers. This can be quite serious and includes the release of a firearm during an armed robbery.
- Client or client violence. Sometimes anger on the part of consumers can show itself as a violent assault.
- Worker violence against other employees or clients.
- Violence based on a personal connection, for example a national dispute which spills over into the office.
Whatever categorization is used it’s essential that the focus remains firmly on conveying the warning signals to management and staff.
COST OF WORKPLACE VIOLENCE
On a macro level the expense of violence at work comes to approx $13.5 billion in medical expenses and 1.75 million days of work annually in the usa. Those numbers may not appear relevant to a small convenience store, but it should act as a warning to all business owners that violence at work costs money. That should be incentive enough to ensure proactive steps are put in place to prevent incidents occurring.
Employers can lose in several ways, for example, the lose of the best employees. Unless workers feel secure in their working environment they’ll leave and join another organisation as well as also the most likely employees to leave are the best. There’s also the price of hiring and training replacement new workers. Direct financial costs include increased insurance premiums and lost business.
The article above is a brief introduction to the importance of between a professionally trained Risk Management Team at the prevention of violence at work. Taking proactive steps can save lives in addition to money.