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Top 6 Ways to Prevent Workplace Violence

As defined by OSHA, workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that happens at the work site. Any attack that is connected to an employee’s workplace or work duties is covered by workers' compensation. According to Injury Facts from the NSC, every year, millions of American workers report that they were victims of workplace violence. In 2018 alone, workplace related assaults were the cause of 20,790 injuries and 453 fatalities.


Workers in the following jobs are especially likely to be victims of workplace violence:

  • Healthcare workers

  • School teachers/school administrators

  • Public service workers

  • Law enforcement officials

  • Retail sales employees

  • Bank tellers

  • Cashiers

  • Delivery and taxi drivers

How to Prevent Workplace Violence


Avoiding workplace violence should be a top priority for all employers because protecting your employees is the right thing to do, employees who feel safe are more productive, and reducing workers’ compensation claims is a good thing. Here are six ways to help prevent it in your workplace.


1. Perform background checks on new employees


In some cases, an employee who is more likely to become violent in the workplace will have past domestic violence or other charges that could be a warning sign. Performing a background check after a job offer has been made will turn up past issues with the law. If the issue was recent, it is worth asking them about it to see if their story makes sense. If needed, the job offer can be rescinded.


2. Create a workplace policy on violence and harassment


A clear policy on workplace violence should be created and shared with employees. The policy should define workplace harassment and establish a zero tolerance to workplace violence and harassment. Consequences for breaking the policy should be laid out.


3. Employee training and action plan


Employers should provide employee training on workplace violence and an emergency action plan to prepare for the worst.


4. Recognize the warning signs


Managers and employees should recognize and be aware of warning signs that a fellow employee may turn violent. Signs include:


· Depression and/or withdrawing from co-workers

· Harassing coworkers

· Suicidal comments

· Consistent vocal opposition to changes at work

· Complaining they are not being treated fairly

· Sharp drop in job performance or punctuality

· Signs of paranoia

· Extreme mood swings


5. Provide a clear and safe way for employees to report warning signs


Employees need to know that it is safe for them to report warning signs about a co-worker to HR or other managers and that the report will be taken seriously. An internal investigation is the next step. Where appropriate, conflict-resolution resources can be provided. In other cases, providing resources for the at-risk employee may be appropriate.


6. Use preventative measures


There are several preventative measures that companies can take to try and prevent workplace violence:

  • Keep limited cash on hand and hire a company to pick up money to be deposited.

  • Hire a security guard to monitor the parking lot that can walk employees to their cars, if needed.

  • Have someone to monitor the visitor check-in desk.

  • Prevent “revenge” violence by recognizing when an employee is angry after being fired or suspended by immediately warning staff and building security of your concern.

Partnering with Makai HR


Need help with workers’ compensation claims, workplace violence policies or other HR tasks? We’ve got you covered through HR outsourcing! When you partner with Makai HR you can get on with the business you are trying to grow while we take care of your employee needs from payroll to taxes, health insurance/benefits and worker’s compensation. You also gain peace of mind that you are in compliance with all of Hawaii’s employer laws (if you’ve ever looked you know that the list is very long). When choosing a PEO to partner with, there are many things to consider including cost, services and technology solutions.


With the cost of doing business in Hawaii at record highs, we know how important it is to keep labor costs in line with revenue. Our plans are priced competitively and include value-added services like time-in/time-out systems. Our three tiers of PEO service plans are tailored to the size of your business and specific needs. We offer a 100% paperless solution which means that your employees can manage their needs through a computer, tablet or phone. We can truly improve your employees work benefits while freeing you up to run your business.


What are you waiting for? Companies that partner with a PEO benefit from 7-9% faster growth, 10-14% lower employee turnover; and they are 50% less likely to go out of business. Contact us today to get started!

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