More often than not these days, you watch the evening news and hear of another workplace violence incident involving a fatal shooting or a violent act against an employee. These acts of violence generally come without warning. The FBI has corroborating data that shows the incidence of active shooters has risen over the past 20 years. The scary thing about these occurrences is that you never know what is going to set someone off.According to OSHA, "Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide."
Employees have a right to come in to work each day and feel safe about being there. But how do you prevent violence in the workplace? There are several ways to ensure everyone is clear about your stance as an employer or business owner regarding the presence of weapons in the workplace and the company's policy against random acts of violence against fellow employees.
A Company Handbook, Policy Manual, or Manual of General Operating Procedures that clearly state there is a Zero Tolerance Policy against any act of violence in the workplace and addresses bringing weapons to work is your best line of defense. Actions that will be taken for breaking the rules should also be clearly defined. A good violence prevention program supplemented by a training program that teaches employees how to respond to and protect themselves against workplace violence is imperative. How do you respond to a violent act, where are the "safe areas" or emergency exits if violence occurs at your workplace? It is also important to know how or who to report these incidents to; whether you can remain anonymous or not.
It is unfortunate that there are no guarantees that workplace shootings or violence will not happen to you, but your best line of defense is to be educated about it and prepared for it. Your Human Resources department undergoes constant training on all issues affecting everyone in the workplace. If you do not have an HR department, reach out to an HR Consulting Company like Stellaris Group in Roswell, Georgia.
Stellaris Group has a team of HR professionals that are capable of creating a Policy Manual for you that outlines your procedures against weapons and workplace violence. They can also devise a Safety Program Development and Implementation plan that will keep your employees educated, informed, and safer in the workplace against numerous violent situations and how to effectively manage them if the occasion should occur. Inform, educate, train, be prepared, and stay safe!