Preventing Workplace Violence With Safety Training

Violence in the workplace is a serious safety and health issue and the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injury in the United States. An extreme example just last week with the eight employees and shoppers slain in a Nebraska department store shooting.

To help reduce workplace violence incidents, employers should establish engineering controls including good visibility and lighting, video surveillance, door detectors and buzzers, and alarms. Here are some helpful tips for recognizing the warning signs of workplace violence (from The U.S. Office of Personnel Management)

  • Direct or veiled threats of harm
  • Intimidating, belligerent, harassing, bullying, or other inappropriate and aggressive
  • Numerous conflicts with supervisors and other employees
  • Bringing a weapon to the workplace, brandishing a weapon in the workplace, making inappropriate references to guns, or fascination with weapons
  • Statements showing fascination with incidents of workplace violence, statements indicating approval of the use of violence to resolve a problem, or statements indicating identification with perpetrators of workplace homicides
  • Statements indicating desperation (over family, financial, and other personal problems) to the point of contemplating suicide
  • Drug/alcohol abuse
  • Extreme changes in behaviors

For abating workplace violence—some important precautions are in order to help ensure that this holiday season is truly a joyous time for working men and women in the industry. Here are a few tips, and some helpful resources from the CDC:

Risk Factors

A number of factors may increase a worker’s risk for workplace assault, and they have been described in previous research [Collins and Cox 1987; Davis 1987; Davis et al. 1987; Kraus 1987; Lynch 1987; NIOSH 1993; Castillo and Jenkins 1994].

These factors include the following:

  • Contact with the public
  • Exchange of money
  • Delivery of passengers, goods, or services
  • Having a mobile workplace such as a taxicab or police cruiser
  • Working with unstable or volatile persons in health care, social service, or criminal justice settings
  • Working alone or in small numbers
  • Working late at night or during early morning hours
  • Working in high-crime areas
  • Guarding valuable property or possessions
  • Working in community-based settings



Related Workplace Violence Safety Training Products
Preventing Workplace Violence Safety products
Preventing Workplace Violence CD-ROM Training Program