Violence in the Workplace

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Information about Violence in the Workplace

Published on March 3, 2008

Author: Soffia


Texas Southern University Employee Education and Awareness Training :  Texas Southern University Employee Education and Awareness Training WORKPLACE VIOLENCE Slide2:  Employees should promptly report incidents of violence No reprisals against employees who report vioelnce DISCLAIMER:  DISCLAIMER The Texas Southern University Office of General Counsel has published this training module for general information and use by University employees only. The purpose of this workplace violence guide is to educate TSU employees about ways to reduce risks and injuries from workplace violence. It is not intended as a substitute for a workplace security program tailored to any particular work environment. Nothing in this presentation shall be construed to supersede, or in any manner affect, and/or interrupt any federal, state or local civil/criminal law. The content of this document is strictly the opinion of the Office of General Counsel and is not representative of the University as a whole. News briefs:  News briefs “Disgruntled employee, angry over a recent suspension, fires a gun at his supervisor; the bullet misses the supervisor, but hits and kills another person who tries to intervene.” “Unemployed teacher kills school superintendent.” “Husband stabs wife in employer’s parking lot.” “Four teenage workers in a local yogurt shop killed.” “Postal employee upset over not getting a promotion kills the supervisor, the person promoted and himself.” Slide5:  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Homicide is the second leading cause of work-related deaths OSHA Workplace violence is a serious safety and health issue OSHA “general duty clause” requires employers to provide a safe workplace free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees Workplace violence defined:  Workplace violence defined Workplace violence: violent acts (including physical assaults and threats of assaults) directed toward persons at work or on duty Ranges from offensive or threatening language to homicide Conditions that contribute to workplace violence:  Conditions that contribute to workplace violence Bad economy Job layoffs Rigid management Pressure for increased productivity Increased stress “Toxic” work environment Risk factors for workplace violence:  Risk factors for workplace violence Working alone or in small numbers Working late at night or during early morning hours Working in high-crime areas Working with unstable or volatile persons Exchanging money or guarding valuable property or possessions Working in community-based settings Having a mobile workplace, such as a police cruiser Violence can be physical or verbal:  Violence can be physical or verbal Physical Hitting Shoving Kicking Pushing Sexual assault Damaging property Verbal (oral or written) Threats Cursing Abuse Intimidation Harassment Slide10:  Most workplace violence is the result of disagreements or personality conflicts between co-workers There are various motives for aggressive and violent behavior: “Acting out” to express feelings of fear or frustration Using threats or violence to intimidate or manipulate others, or Mental illness Threats of Violence: direct threat:  Threats of Violence: direct threat Communicates a clear intent to do harm Somebody’s going to pay for this! I’ll pay him/her back. I’ll get even with him/her. I won’t be the only one leaving here. Threats of Violence: conditional threat:  Threats of Violence: conditional threat Used to control people through intimidation If I’m fired, there’ll be hell to pay. If you do that, you’ll be sorry. Threats of Violence: hidden or veiled:  Threats of Violence: hidden or veiled Implies an intent to do harm without actually saying so This place will be shutdown for days if the mainframe crashes and the backup system is damaged. I’d stay home from work tomorrow if I were you. Myths about Workplace Violence:  Myths about Workplace Violence MYTH: Violence just happens; someone just snaps! FACT: There are usually warning signs that occur over a period of time. Indicators of potential violence:  Indicators of potential violence No specific profile of a potentially dangerous individual; however, there are some indicators Is a loner Makes direct or indirect threats Has numerous conflicts with supervisors and other employees Blames others for his or her problems Abuses alcohol or drugs Suffers frequent or severe mood swings Indicators of potential violence:  Indicators of potential violence Shows decline in productivity Talks about being desperate (over family, financial, and other personal problems) to the point of contemplating suicide Is fascinated with weapons Shows extreme or bizarre behavior Is withdrawn from coworkers Preventing workplace violence:  Preventing workplace violence Take every threat seriously. Pay attention to warning signs Report and encourage reporting of threats Document incidents; be specific and include names of witnesses Enforce company policy that violent conduct is unacceptable Stay aware What should you do?:  What should you do? If you are confronted by an agitated or irrational person Maintain a safe distance Avoid physical contact Be non-threatening; keep your arms down and speak calmly Encourage the person to talk about the problem Don’t argue, disagree or be judgmental If necessary, change the subject to distract them What should you do?:  What should you do? If incident is in progress, call TSU police immediately (713-313-7000) Notify your supervisor immediately Document the incident (who, what, when, where, & witnesses) Contact Environmental Health & Safety (713-313-1801) Slide20:  Remember, by reporting threats or acts of workplace violence, you could save lives - EVEN YOUR OWN.

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