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Important Facts About Violence in the Workplace

Tags:  Reputation, Job stress

Did you know…

According to a 1999 U.S. Department of Justice report, 80 percent of all workplace homicides were committed with a firearm?


The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence released information in 2005 that indicated the National Rifle Association (NRA) felt that every employer in America should be required by law to allow employees to bring guns to work?


The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that out of a total 5,734 workplace injuries in 2005, 564 were homicides (or approximately 10 percent)?


The Workplace Violence Research Institute estimates costs of workplace violence to U.S. businesses at $36 billion per year?


Violence in the workplace is a very real problem. According to Jeffrey M. Miller, the founder and director of Warrior Concepts International, a company which focuses on teaching effective self-protection and personal development techniques, ""It has become the leading cause of death for women and the second leading for men.""


And though no single occupation is really immune from violence, violence does appear to center around certain job characteristics including jobs that involve:

  • Public contact
  • Money handling
  • Delivery of passengers, goods, or services
  • Mobility (i.e., taxi, bus, police cars)
  • Health care, social service, community-based or criminal justice settings
  • Working alone or in small numbers
  • Late night or early morning work hours
  • Working in high-crime areas
  • Guarding valuable property or possessions

If you or those you know work in environments that contain these types of characteristics, it is even more important to understand what experts say are the predictors of violent behavior and what you should do if you are faced with a potentially violent situation.


The predictors that you should be aware of include employees who:

  • act out their anger with such actions as yelling, shouting, slamming doors, or through intimidation.
  • take no responsibility for their actions.
  • see no connection between what they do and the consequences or results of their actions.
  • do what they want, regardless of the negative effects on others.
  • talk positively, but behave negatively.
  • are rigid, inflexible, and controlling.
  • deal with stress by lying and/or taking part in addictive behaviors such as drugs or gambling.
  • suddenly act in ways that are out of character and/or extreme.
  • are remote, have poor social skills, are loners, and/or exhibit anti-social behavior.

In addition, these employees may talk about weapons and have a history of violence.


Obviously it is impossible to anticipate every workplace scenario. However, if you find yourself in a situation at work that involves violence, here are some suggestions on what to do:

  • Follow company policies, procedures, work practices and any training you may have received from your employer
  • Report any incidents of violence to management
  • Don't provoke violence or aggravate a situation
  • Don't intimidate or harass co-workers
  • Treat customers and co-workers in a friendly and courteous manner
  • Don't discuss company security measures with others
  • Park in well-lit areas, as near to your building as possible
  • Ask for an escort to your car

Remember that taking precautions are your best defense. Being aware that violence can happen any time anywhere is important.

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