How to spot warning signs of workplace violence

Category: Workplace Violence

By: Jude Carter

The Hartford Distributors shooting has everyone talking about workplace violence. The natural reaction is, “What was he thinking?” This is quickly followed by, “How come we didn’t see it coming?”

Violence in the workplace is not limited to assaults or homicides. Other behaviors such as these can act as a warning sign of more serious trouble:
· Bullying, verbal abuse, sabotaging someone’s work,
· Threats, either oral or written
· Intimidating gestures, such as shaking a fist or throwing objects
· Physical assaults such as striking, pushing, kicking or shoving.

As specialists in workplace communications, we help companies communicate critical subjects such as these. It’s a two-part process:
1. Communicating the danger signs in a way that all employees will see and understand. Think of this as an extension to your workplace safety program. Visual communication works best at drawing attention, whether it’s through the use of posters or electronic message boards.
2. Establishing a clear process for how such incidents can be reported. Often employees are afraid to speak up, especially in cases of workplace bullying and threats. They need to hear from you that there is zero tolerance for violence or intimidation in your workplace.
How are you getting this message across to your workers?

Sharon Toelle
August 5, 2010

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