Start thinking about the unthinkable – workplace violence prevention and intervention.

So the crime rate has dropped, but…

 2001 Special report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics announces that homicides in the workplace have decreased by 51% since the 1993 and yet, approximately 2 million U.S. workers each year get injured as a result of workplace violence.

Therefore, despite the drop, workplace violence prevention should still be one of the employer’s main concerns; especially that under current  law, preventing workplace crimes is the employer’s responsibility. Failing to take all the precautions (evaluating, educating, training staff members, and performing risk assessments), can result in actions from both the injured employee and government agencies, and the employer can be held liable for the occurred harm.

“Plans are useless, but planning is everything…”

Although the violent incidents in the workplace are unexpected and very seldom go according to the emergency plan, the heart of a successful workplace violence prevention still lies in multidisciplinary planning and integrated education.

The very first thing to work on, is  attitude – eliminate the tendency to think of a workplace crime in terms of improbability. Newly released ASIS/SHRIM Workplace Violence Prevention and Intervention Standard, emphasizes the importance of understanding that workplace violence is one of  the most challenging problems that an organization can face and that it really can happen to anyone:

“No organization, large or small, private or public, profit or in the nonforprofit sector, can assume that  it will be immune to the wide range of  disturbing, threatening, and violent conduct that falls within the broad definition of “workplace violence”. All organizations ultimately carry a responsibility, both for humanitarian and legal reasons, to protect employees and others who interact with the workplace to the fullest practical extent  by taking measures to detect threats at the earliest possible moment , engage in effective intervention through careful Incident Management, and mitigate consequences should violence erupt.”

The need for a standard that overviews the  policies, processes, and protocols that organizations can adopt to help identify and prevent threatening behavior and to better address and resolve threats and violence that have actually occurred, was further reinforced by a presentation entitled “Controlling Workplace Violence–Hospital Violence is on the rise.” It was delivered by Patrick Fiel – public safety advisor for ADT Security Services  –  at the recent Healthcare Facilities Forum in Dallas on October 10th, 2011.

The complete version of the Standard can be found on ASIS’s website.

Marta Gierczyk

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