The Guidance for the Prevention of Stress and Violence at Workplace published by Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH ) in 2001 to overcome this problem under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994
designed to help employers, employees and their representatives identify the potential for violence at work and to provide practical guidance for the development of risk reduction strategies
The intentional use of power, threatened or actual, against another person or against a group, in work-related circumstances, that either results in or has a high degree of likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation”
The deliberate verbal or written expression or other specific implication of intent to inflict bodily injury, death or other harmful results that a reasonable person would perceive as a danger to the personal safety of themselves or others.
Types of threat:
Veiled : involves reference to a violence act and an association with the present situation
Conditional : contain words such as “if” or “or” and references a violent act with the condition
Any unwelcome verbal, written or physical conduct that either denigrates or shows hostility or aversion towards a person on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, political affiliation, or disability.
has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment
has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee's work performance
affects an employee's employment opportunities or compensation.
Repeated, unreasonable actions of individuals (or a group) directed towards an employee (or a group of employees), which is intended to intimidate and creates a risk to the health and safety of the employee(s).
Often involves an abuse or misuse of power.
Behaviour that intimidates, degrades, offends, or humiliates a worker, often in front of others.
Creates feelings of defencelessness in the target and undermines an individual’s right to dignity at work.
Such as an individual with a documented history of violent or aggressive behavior. For example, you as a supervisor, may get a new employee in your workforce who had to be moved from his/her past job because of exhibiting violent or aggressive behavior toward a former coworker
b) Hate group membership:
Such as an individual who expresses his or her severe prejudices by being a member of a "hate group." This person is at risk of responding to the groups actions, including perpetrating violence at members of the target group.
Gender has been shown to be a significant predictor of workplace aggression. For example, being male has been shown to be significantly related to reports of aggression against supervisors. Furthermore, males are more likely to commit aggressive acts in the presence of other men. Females, on the other hand, are no more likely to act aggressively in either the presence of females or males.
Age is significantly related to aggression. In their study of age and job performance, Ng and Feldman (2008) found that older workers (age 40 or older) engaged in less workplace aggression than younger workers.
l) Alcohol consumption
The frequency and amount of alcohol typically consumed by a person predicts aggressive behavior. Those who consume more alcohol more frequently are more likely to aggress against a coworker (Greenberg & Barling, 1999).
The following attributes can create a "toxic work environment" within an organization which can worse ill feelings among employees and military members and can lead to an increased potential for violence. Many times, supervisors are responsible for bring up this environment.
Existence of hostile or threatening work environment
- Allowing aggressive conduct, the existence of hostile or threatening work environment to persist under your supervision, or ignoring and taking no action for thefts, fights, sexual or racial harassment, intimidation or other behaviors viewed as hostile by employees.
b) Highly authoritarian management style
- This can cause feelings of oppression and frustration among workers.
Certain changes in the work environment can lead to increased aggression which they attributed to heightened anxiety and stress. Specifically, changes in management, increased monitoring systems (e.g., increased computer monitoring), increased diversity, and the increased use of part-time employees all were related to higher levels of workplace aggression.
- Stress increases significantly during times of economic upheaval. Financial problems at any age may trigger negative survival responses from employees and result in unpredictable behavior.
c) Organization justice
Perceived interpersonal justice, the degree to which people feel they are treated with fairness and respect, is negatively related to both psychological and physical aggression against supervisors (Dupre & Barling, 2006).
Workplace surveillance (employee monitoring) is positively related to workplace aggression against supervisors, such that the greater the number of employee surveillance methods used, the greater the amount of workplace aggression .
Furthermore, supervisory control over work performance has also been shown to be positively related to workplace aggression against supervisors.
Other antecedents of workplace aggression found in the literature are specific job characteristics. LeBlanc and Kelloway (2002) found that certain job features, such as handling guns or collecting valuable items, were significantly more related to workplace aggression.
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH
Such a finding is further corroborated by previous studies which have documented a number of factors that may increase a worker's risk for workplace assault (Di Martino & Masri, 2001; NIOSH, 1996), which include:
provide social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families.
Medical and public health social workers
provide psychosocial support to individuals, families, or vulnerable populations so they can cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses, such as Alzheimer's disease, cancer, or AIDS.
Mental health and substance abuse social workers
- assess and treat individuals with mental illness or substance abuse problems. Such services include individual and group therapy, outreach, crisis intervention, social rehabilitation, and teaching skills needed for everyday living.
Social workers help people resolve issues in their lives
Risk factors for work related violence in a health care organization M J Findorff 1 , P M McGovern 1 , M Wall 2 , S G Gerberich 1 , B Alexander 1
Violence is the third most common cause of occupational death in the United States and the second leading cause for working women, accounting for 639 work related homicides in 2001, 1 and nearly two million acts of non-fatal work related violence annually. 2 Health care workers are at increased risk of non-fatal work related violence. 3–5 Most studies addressing health care workers have focused on one occupation, nursing. 6,7 Injury rates per 100 000 persons per year, based on workers’ compensation claims for selected health care occupations, included registered nurses (27), licensed practical nurses (88), medical managers (116), occupational therapists (222), nursing aides (289), and health aides (457), compared with an overall rate of 16. 7 The vast majority of physical violence in health care is perpetrated by patients or clients. 4,8–13
Ministers are being urged to make retail crime a higher priority after new figures revealed an increase in threats and acts of violence against shop workers.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said incidents of physical violence against store staff have risen by 50 per cent over the past year, while threats of violence have more than doubled during the same period. Incidents per store also shot up by 18 per cent with verbal abuse episodes showing a six per cent hike.
Work related factors increase the risk of violence.
Certain work factors, process, and interactions can put people at increased risk from workplace violence. For example:
Working with the public
Handling money, valuables or prescription drugs (cashiers, pharmacists)
Carrying out inspection or enforcement duties (government employees)
Providing service, care, advice or education (health care staff, teachers)
Working with unstable or volatile persons (social services, or criminal justice system employees)
KUALA LUMPUR -Azman Bahar (not his real name), in his late 20s and an administrative assistant in a private firm.
"I have been burdened with loads of difficult tasks by my superior officer. Even though my colleagues share the same responsibilities, I was the one who became the 'victim'.
"It is a rare occasion for me to leave office the moment the clock showed six in the evening, unlike my co-workers. Usually I am only able to leave at about 8pm. After completing a task, immediately I would be given another bundle of files even though the other workers are quite free," he told this writer.
Azman also complained that it was difficult for him to obtain leave. "Even when I showed a medical certificate, many questions were hurled back with some degree of sceptism," he said.
THE MEDICAL NEWS from News-Medical.Net - Latest Medical News and Research from Around the World Majority of nurses experience workplace violence 3 rd February 2010 04:59 Three-quarters of nurses providing private and public care experienced workplace violence, but only one in six incidents were formally reported, according to study published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing. The majority (92%) said they had been verbally abused, 69% had been physically threatened and 52% had been physically assaulted. A total of 2,354 incidents were reported to the research team, with nurses facing an average of two to 46 incidents a year.
In the specific context of possible violence and aggression in the workplace, especially those open to the public, the design of workplaces requires special attention and involves the following additional factors:-
comfort of seating which is crucial
especially where waiting is involved
comfort and size of waiting rooms
surveillance cameras and
systems to alert other employees that urgent help is needed
Selection may help in identifying those individuals who are more tailored to certain jobs, less likely to get stressed, frustrated or angered because of it, and consequently less prone to violent workplace responses.
Although selection may have an important bearing in terms of stress and violence prevention it should be used and interpreted with care and caution.
Training and education
Regular and updated training is essential violence prevention.
communication skills which defuse and prevent a potentially threatening situation
developing competence in the particular function to be performed; improving the ability to identify potentially stressful and violent situations
preparing a "core group" of mature and specially competent staff who can take responsibility for more complicated interactions
Guidelines identify the special training needs and skills required preventing violence