Workplace Violence (We’re Not in Mayberry Anymore, Barney)
2 This PowerPoint is designed to be used by organizations desiring to provide training and education to staff about workplace violence. The slides alternate between a “notes” page (light background – dark green text) that can be used for dialogue (by a presenter or simply to be read by the viewer), followed by the descriptor slide page (dark background – white text and additional graphics). (Thus, the following text below goes with the next slide, and so forth.) If this presentation saves only one workplace from a workplace violence incident, I will consider this presentation a resounding success. Good Luck. Lee And here we go… There was a time, and some of you probably remember, that where people lived and worked was probably just as safe as Mayberry, the home of Sheriff Andy Taylor, Deputy Barney Fife, Aunt Bee, Opie and all the rest of the residents there. The greatest fear those folks probably had was whether or not it would rain for the Fourth of July parade. But…times have changed.
4 I want to start by sharing some statistics with you that might really surprise you. Recent figures show that about 15 percent of all people will report serious or repeated abusive behavior, and between 30 and 40 percent of people will report that they’ve been victims of occasional bad behavior in the workplace. According to Dr. Stephen Hart, Director of ProActiveReSolutions, over 1 million (and possibly as many as 2 million) violent crimes occur in the workplace every year in the United States. He goes on to say that 80 percent of employees report being aware of someone being a victim of workplace violence, and about 1/5 of employees report being fearful of workplace violence on a daily basis.
6 A final sobering figure is this: there were over 600 workplace homicides in 2007; about 500 men (about 10% of all men’s fatalities at work), and a little over 100 women (about 27% of all women’s).
About 5oo men (10% of all men’s fatalities at work); 3rd highest cause of workplace deaths for men
Slightly over 100 women (27% of all women’s fatalities at work); #1 cause of workplace deaths for women
8 Let me start by giving you a general definition of workplace violence, although you may be thinking “this is pretty self-explanatory. “ However, this definition might include more than you think. Notice that it includes verbal and behavioral threats as well as actual assault. This definition is critical, for it includes abusive behavior - such as gossiping, teasing, taunting, violating a person’s personal space, and harassing comments.
--DEFINITION-- A verbal threat, threatening behavior, or physical assault occurring in, or arising from the workplace Includes:
10 Although not overtly violent, these behaviors are important to include, because they are, or can be, “emotionally/psychologically violent,” and oftentimes, behavior that isn’t actually physical is ignored. You know: “That’s just how Bob is;” or, “Oh, Jane didn’t mean what she said, she was just having a bad day;” and so forth. But these behaviors are like bees or wasps; one sting every so often may only be annoying, not harmful, but repeated stings can cause one serious problems. And you never know if someone might be “allergic” to a certain comment, due to their background and personal history, which could result in their violent retaliation against the person.
12 So, what is the “workplace?” Well, that’s pretty easily answered; it’s any place where an employee does work. Of course, that includes any off-site places where the employee goes to transact business – businesses, homes, inside or outside. When you think about it, the workplace of a sheriff or deputy, for example, would be anywhere and everywhere he or she happens to be. Don’t forget that the parking lot is also part of your workplace, as well as stairwells, elevators, and other places that would be more isolated than your regular work area.
The Workplace is: Any place you do work for your employerIncludes:
14 Let’s now talk briefly about the five categories of people that make up the potential perpetrators of violence. These five are co-workers, managers/supervisors, former employees, strangers and customers/clients. Think about these categories, write them down quickly on a piece of paper, and then I’m going to let you guess what percentage of workplace violence acts each group makes up.
20 The least likely group to commit violence is … former employees – 3 percent. This surprises a lot of people; many think it’s much higher. But that misconception is probably due to how much publicity those situations get in the media - everyone has heard the term “going postal”, for example.
28 and a whopping 44 percent of all violent workplace events are caused by the customer! So customers are 15 times more likely to commit a violent act in the workplace than former employees. That certainly is something to think about!
30 So, at this point, an important question comes to mind. Have you actually given much thought to how you would respond to a violent situation? Does your company/ organization/ agency have a workplace violence response policy? It’s probably pretty normal to not give this much thought. It can’t happen here, right? Well, that’s not necessarily true; it can happen anywhere and periodically there should be some discussion in organizations about the policy, what employees would do if it happens, and so forth. Your company/ organization/agency should have a policy (and procedures) to deal with situations that could arise, depending on the kind of customers you and your fellow workers see on a daily basis.
32 So what kind of situations can cause violent behavior? It could be any number of issues, or a combination of things that cause a person to choose violence. Often it comes after a breakdown of a person’s support system. Support systems can include family, home, school, peer groups at work, church, and romantic relationships. If one or more of these systems fails, a person finds themselves without that group to lean on, and could be more susceptible to violence.
36 Workplace factors include the person having a perception of an injustice done to them by an organization, electronic monitoring by the organization (which can be thought of by the person as an invasion of privacy), and job insecurity (due to downsizing, reductions in force, and so on – and think about that in today’s economic culture!).
38 Other warning signs of a potentially violent person could include such things as over responding/over reacting to situations, talking of a plan to hurt self or others, constantly blaming other people or situations for their problems, fascination with weaponry or other acts of violence, an inability to take criticism, and violence toward inanimate objects.
40 A note of caution: watch for these things in terms of how many signs there are, and how frequent someone exhibits them. In other words, just because someone got a little defensive about a mistake they made, or someone mentions that they are pleased with the new shotgun they bought to go pheasant hunting with, does not make them a potentially violent person!
42 Another area that you want to give some thought to is what is called your “risk factors” at work. Every job has them. Here are some examples of risk factors. As you review them, see if any of them fit your work and workplace. Perhaps you have some unique risk factors in your workplace; think about what they might be, and keep those in mind during your workday.
44 So what can you do to reduce the risk of violence in your workplace? First of all, as we talked about a moment ago, your organization needs to make sure that violence in any form is not accepted, and that there are effective policy and procedural guidelines in place for handling those situations. It would be good if those procedures included such things as how to ask for emergency assistance by phone or by alerting other staff, after hours security and emergency response procedures, and provision for periodic training and education for all staff. Also, every employee (and especially managers and supervisors) can help by ensuring that all employees are treated with dignity and respect.
50 In conclusion, a safe workplace is everyone’s concern and responsibility. You are now more aware of the important issues that workplace violence involves. Be mindful of the warning signs of violence, and do not, I repeat, do NOT allow emotional violence to go by without addressing it with your supervisor or a manager. Also, be aware of your agency’s current policies and procedures on workplace violence, and ask to see it if you haven’t looked at it recently. If one doesn’t exist, I would recommend that you encourage management to consider developing one. Thank you for taking a few minutes to review this important topic with me. Have a good day, and keep your workplace safe and violence free!
51 Workplace violence… Nip it!! Nip it in the bud!!!
52 Developed by: Lee Lundberg, PHR Human Resource Management Services Office of Management and Budget State of North Dakota