Workplace Violence Prevention Programs
Private security has gained an ever-expanding role in the prevention and mitigation of workplace violence. Violence is an act of individuals, thus no space that involves humanity can ever be shielded from the possibility of vicious acts of humans against one another. Committed to the wellness and protection of assets, AGI also extends this obligation to supporting violence prevention measures at the workplace.
Several factors contribute to the buildup of emotional unrest that culminates in a verbal or physically violent act. Studies have shown that employee opinions about their workplace are significantly impacted by their personal experiences relating to violence. The involvement of leaders is mandatory in placing safety as a top priority. If an employee feels that disciplinary action is lacking, it reflects negatively on company ethics. A multi disciplinary collaborative effort between security, human resources, health departments, legal operations, facility managers and the community at large can be a promising effort at delineating roles and establishing a prevention and response strategy.
Violence at work is damaging for those involved, negative for fellow employee morale and destructive to the organization's reputation. Organizations bear the duty to care, nurture and promote wellness among employees, thus promotion of violence prevention has become a forefront responsibility today.
Understanding how workplace conflicts arise. All work related activities have their innate potential for conflict and these must be evaluated and minimized for optimal employee outcomes. By identifying the threat, controls can be set in place. Most measures would include but are not limited to:
- Records of violence at the place
- Working conditions of employees
- Employee background screening
- Detailed administrative practices
- Employee surveys and opinions
Risk assessment is a highly personalized and individual task. Personal behavioral factors as well as environmental work factors can contribute to the level of unrest that culminates in an individual's violent gesture or act. Once we are aware of risks we can work to minimize them.
This is the primary objective; prevention has always been better than cure. A thorough risk assessment offers direction towards possibilities and probabilities for preventive intervention. Organizations lay out specific violence prevention policies that empower and not threaten employees. Some of these may include:
- Description of reportable behaviors and acts
- Clear process of reporting (anonymous too)
- Laying down codes of conduct while at work
- Descriptions of penalties for noncompliance
- Sharp narrative of responsibilities and roles
Just like the assessment of risk varies in different settings, the enforcement of policies cannot be rigid and non-conforming. Violent behaviors are a culmination of previolent manners. The tasks, activities, interactions and exchanges that culminate in violence are the key target in breaking the process. All the risks need to be carefully integrated in the prevention strategy.
Vigilant eyes and efficient ears are the vanguard in capturing warning signs. Presence of conflict, evidence of substance use at work, vocalization of personal problems, verbal or indirect threats, as well as referral to a firearm ought to set off an alarm. Any change in behavior from the usual or visible signs of behavioral troubles like distractibility, anger or restlessness should alert the response team to take steps. It is imprudent to underestimate the explosive potential of a violent individual. Steps to be taken in such circumstances include:
- Train all staff in conflict management
- Training Vigilant managers to observe subordinates
- Wellness coaching and anger management
- Modify threatening tasks and activities
- Educate staff on risk avoidance measures
Some jobs are stressful, people have low thresholds, or the timing is perfect to accommodate a blend to promote an explosive outburst which may often be unintentional but could eventually gets out of hand. The use of precontact measures is an essential part of prevention.
Once a conflict arises, the best measure is to safeguard. It is important to take immediate measures to negate the negative impact of violence incidents at the workplace. These are better understood as post contact measures and include:
- Immediate and prompt personnel action
- Documenting and recording incidents
- Protocols for action in such scenarios
- Awareness for all levels of employees
- Unambiguous containment measures
Employees often do not know their rights and ways to respond to such situations. It decreases their morale to witness or be subjected to such events. When they are aware of organization policies and their own rights in the system, they feel empowered to take essential steps with preparedness. Specialized guidance and training for all levels of employees needs to be implemented by qualified instructors.
All effective corporate employee wellness initiatives must involve presence of behavior health personnel, coaches, counselors and supportive services. The role of an empathizing individual cannot be underestimated here. It is a personal and threatening experience that has occurred at the workplace and the employers bear responsibility for the employee. It is important to facilitate closure and help the employees move on. Post incident analysis is a mandate in these situations and can be well conducted by a trained and responsive security team.
- Appropriate and transformational leadership
- Respect and empathy for everyone involved
- Shielding employees from violent sources
- Individualized response plans for incidents
- Dealing with ethical and legal implications
This would call for a detailed review and the organization ought to be prepared with specific role descriptions and systems in place to respond to every step of the process of bringing the situation in control. The private security expertise in every step of the way guiding and formulating the approach is quintessential.