Workplace violence affects every organization at some point, but often there is a sense of denial about the likelihood and impact of an incident.
There are 8,000 assaults or threats of workplace violence that occur daily in the United States. The total economic cost of workplace violence is over $120 billion a year, and there are 1.8 million lost days of work annually. Active shooter incidents have increased by 400% since the year 2000.
Workplace violence lawsuits are on the rise. The average out of court settlement for this type of litigation approaches $500,000 and an average jury award of $3 million. Also, stats show that for 6 to 18 weeks after an incident happens, there is a 50% decrease in productivity. Many organizations are not aware of OSHA guidelines for workplace security.
Stopping workplace violence is or at least should be a high priority for everyone in an organization. One component in workplace violence prevention is knowing the behaviors of concerns and signals to workplace violence. A person does not just snap, they escalate. The signals include excessive use of alcohol or drugs, unexplained absenteeism, change in behavior or decline in job performance, depression, withdrawal or suicidal comments, resistance to change at work or persistent complaining about unfair treatment, violation of company policies, paranoia, emotional responses to criticism, bullying, harassment, bringing a firearm or explosive into the workplace, or any other behavior that creates fear or concern. It is important to be aware of your surroundings and to know your workers well enough to recognize changes in behavior, and behaviors of concern.
Another component for prevention is knowing exactly how and to whom a concern or observation should be reported. Employers should publicize Who to contact and How (whether via email, phone, helpline, text, etc.). Reporting examples include your Human Resources contact, your manager or supervisor, your Safety and Security Team, or the police in an emergency at 911. It is important to encourage everyone to report concerns. Creating a speak up culture that promotes honesty and safety should be nurtured so when violations or concerns occur, employees feel empowered and comfortable to stand up. Again, immediately report your concerns as early intervention is the key to prevention. Serious violence may be rare, but no workplace is immune.
Unfortunately, workplace violence has happened, it is happening, and it will happen. At Trinity Risk Solutions we help organizations protect their people from workplace violence. Contact Trinity Risk Solutions to create, review or update your workplace violence prevention plan and help protect your people.