Be Proactive to Ensure Employee Safety
No business is immune from the risk of violence on its premises. A recent study found that the number two cause of on-the-job death among women was workplace violence. Potentially violent situations can quickly arise from many sources. An irate former boyfriend might be harassing an employee at work with constant phone calls. A terminated employee may make threats on his way out of the building. An employee under stress may develop a hair-trigger temper and become difficult to handle. The possible circumstances are as numerous as they are volatile.
Whether workplace violence stems from a current or former employee, an unknown assailant, or an employee's spouse, many incidents are foreseeable and/or preventable. Management often is ill-equipped, however, to recognize a developing situation and take appropriate action. There are many steps employers can take to minimize the risk of violence erupting in their workplaces.
Rarely does anyone head to the office expecting violence. There is risk, however, at every place of employment. By implementing comprehensive policies to protect workplace safety, employers will significantly reduce the risk that their office will be the site of the next tragedy.
This article appeared in the February 5, 2010 issue of The Daily Journal of Commerce.