Workplace violence: How do you spot them?
Recently An Oklahoma woman was killed by an ex-coworker who beheaded her with a knife. The attacker came to the workplace with a knife and proceeded to stab and kill the woman. When episodes of violence occur, people often wonder, Could I have done anything to prevent this? Workplace violence is no exception. OSHA says almost two million Americans report being victims of workplace violence every year. For about 600 workers, that violence is fatal. violence can occur in any workplace, and there are behavioral patterns that can help you spot them. Be sure to pass these strategies on to co-workers too.
1.Look for behavioral clues. Does someone you work with exhibit signs of low self-esteem or rage? Keep an eye out for: a change in behavior sulking, temper tantrums, argumentative, disrespect for authority, pushing limits, social isolation
2.Physical symptoms. Have you seen someone with a red face, shaking hands, restless movement or excessive sweating? Identify these people and keep them flagged in your mind so you stay alert to their behavior.
3.Verbal threats. If you overhear someone using verbal threats, inappropriate statements or emotional language, you might keep this person on your radar also.
4.Get to know your co-workers. If someone seems off, do a little digging. If they have a history of violence, it’s better to know. Fascination with violence and weapons is also a red flag. Personal problems like financial troubles or an unreciprocated love could be a stressor.
5.Speak up! If you see behavior that seems off or dangerous, report it to a supervisor. Don’t wait, because you could be too late.
It’s important to know how to prevent a dangerous situation.
◾Have appropriate engineering and administrative controls, such as alarm systems, security devices, visitor sign-in and liaisons with local police
◾Respond to all complaints
◾Develop a violence prevention program, including a policy statement
◾Train employees to recognize the potential for violence, including how to protect themselves and seek assistance.
Workplace violence is recognized as a risk by OSHA in industries including healthcare and social services, the taxi industry and late-night retail establishments. OSHA can issue citations to employers for incidents of workplace violence under the General Duty Clause. This clause requires employers to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards.