Workplace violence is alive and living in your office

Thought Leadership on Property & Casualty/Risk & Insurance Management presented by Commercial Insurance Managers

Workplace violence is surprisingly common in the U.S.

According to Stericycle’s article, 10 shocking workplace violence statistics, seventy-nine percent of the violence is workplace situations involves guns and shooting, 8.9% is stabbing, 6.2% involves hitting, beating and kicking, and 5.3% is assaults and violent attacks.

The most frequent hospital violence occurs in waiting rooms, emergency rooms, geriatric wards and psychiatric wards. One-third of nurses are subjected to physical abuse and verbal abuse in a year’s time. One hospital conducted a metal scan of people over a six-month time period and found 33 handguns, 1,324 knives and 97 mace cans.

If you are concerned about workplace violence and want to do something proactive, submit your employees to a risk assessment. Some of the things to look for are:

  • Why has the offender threatened, made comments that have been perceived by others as threatening, or taken this action at this particular time? What is happening in his own life that has prompted this?
  • Does he accept responsibility for his own actions?
  • How does the offender cope with disappointment, loss or failure?
  • Does he feel the company is treating him fairly?
  • Does he have problems with supervisors or management?
  • Has he received unfavorable performance reviews or been reprimanded by management?
  • Is he experiencing personal problems such as divorce, death in the family, health problems or other personal losses or issues?
  • Is he experiencing financial problems, high personal debt or bankruptcy?
  • Is there evidence of substance abuse or mental illness/depression?
  • Has the offender identified a specific target and communicated with others his thoughts or plans for violence?
  • Is he obsessed with others or engaged in any stalking or surveillance activity?
  • Has the offender spoken of homicide or suicide?
  • Does he have a past criminal history or history of past violent behavior?

This assessment can guide you to the risks involved in your workplace. Having pinpointed various behavioral or psychological problems in your staff can enable you to begin a preventive program to ensure the safety of your employees.

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This article was written by Gordon M. Mumpower Jr., CPCU, MBA, president of Commercial Insurance Managers Inc., a VOSB-certified business.