According to the Occupational Safety andHealth Administration (OSHA) website, workplace violence is any act or threatof physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening disruptivebehaviour that occurs at the worksite. The impact of workplace violence canrange from physical injury to psychological issues or even death.

The cost ofworkplace violence to companies are high- costing $120 billion per year basedon estimates by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health(NIOSH) in 2012.There are several steps that can betaken to reduce workplace violence as follows:1)      Increase security measuresIncreasing securitymeasures is the basic initiative for protecting employees against violence atwork. It is a preventative action that will considerably reduce the occurrencesand impact of workplace violence. Companies shouldstart by critically examining all areas of the workplace to uncover potentialways in which to improve its security. According to OSHA, these measures mayinclude the following:a)      Improving external lightingb)     Minimising cash on handc)      Putting up signage to tell people that there is only limitedamount of cashd)     Installing surveillance cameras and alarmse)     Increasing the number of staff on-dutyf)       Providing staff safety trainingg)      Avoiding operations during high-risk hours h)     Issuing a weapons policyi)        Establish proceduresto react against such events.

 2)      Implement a security policy Companies can adopt aformal workplace violence policy. There should also be procedures and channelsfor employees to report threats or violent incidents. Managers should take anactive role in enforcing this policy. Most perpetrators display hints ofbecoming violent in advance. Threats should be reported immediately anddiligently documented. Procedures to terminate employees should be carried outin a fair and transparent way.

  Companies should alsoimplement effective training and communication plan to instil awareness amongemployees and so that they will know how to react and respond accordingly. Trainingsshould be made at regular intervals and must include all employees.  3)      Conduct screening A thorough evaluationof employee applications may raise potential “red flags”. Backgroundchecks should be carried out to inquire if any applicants have had done any unacceptableworkplace behaviour. The background check process can include criminal records,drug testing and other investigations that can reveal potential warning signs.

Interviewquestions should also be tailored to reveal any inclination towards violence. Whena company displays a strong stand against workplace violence, and exhibits itthrough a tight background screening, potential offenders might even bedeterred to apply in the first place.  Atthe end of the day, you do not want to let any danger through your door.Regular screening onemployees and contractors should also be done regularly. In order to ensure a continuoussafe environment, it is crucial to carry out regular screening on the extendedworkforce. They might include service and repair professionals, constructionworkers, caterers—virtually any non-employee that will potentially interactwith employees and customers.  4)      Inculcate a culture of mutual trust and respectA positive workplaceculture will deter unwanted behaviours like bullying or harassment that couldlead to violence.

It would also be beneficial for companies to implementstress-relief programmes such as meditation or counselling. A “buddy system”would also strengthen teamwork and enhance communications at the workplace. In conclusion, workplace violence is aserious issue that has affected many employees worldwide. The key strategies toprevent them are prevention and pre-emption.

Companies must take proactive measuresto ensure that workplace violence can be prevented effectively. 


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