The issue of workplace violence has gained attention in the media through high profile and horrific cases. However, the issue is much more complex and often more subtle. Research indicates that most workplace violence is non-fatal and may include acts such as harassment, bullying and intimidation, not shootings or physical violence.
Workplace violence certainly is an issue and a concern for both employers and employees. As the person responsible for a business, a property and a staff, it is in your best interest to take workplace violence seriously by instituting preventive and response measures in order to save lives.
Preventing Workplace Violence
Watching the news, you see active shooting events or extreme violence that leads to loss of life. It often seems that these situations occur out of nowhere. In most violent attacks in the workplace, the perpetrator had exhibited strange or triggering behavior to indicate that there was a problem before a violent act occurred. Businesses should acknowledge this phenomenon and take steps to educate and empower their employees to identify and respond to behavior that may indicate that an employee may be prone to perpetrating a violent act in the workplace.
Some types of behavior that could suggest that an employee needs an intervention may include:
- Changes in demeanor
- Signs of anxiety, depression or anger
- Verbal outbursts
- Talk about weapons
- Change in physical appearance
- Decreased attention to hygiene
- Seems “on edge”
- Engages in inappropriate talk or jokes
Many of these behavior changes have a source outside of the office. Personal relationships, financial troubles or physical abuse in the home can carry over to the workplace. Anger, frustration and fear can manifest themselves in aggression toward coworkers, supervisors and customers.
Human resources teams must address the emotional toll that career, personal and financial situations can place on their employees. By educating their staff members to understand these triggers, they may be able to empower them to report behavior that seems off, and prevent a situation from occurring. If an employee recognizes a significant change in behavior or alarming conversation or actions by an individual, they should know immediately how to intervene.
Intervention may involve pulling that coworker aside and asking about their behavior changes and offering support. Sometimes talking about stressful situations can alleviate that stress or make people aware that their stress is manifesting itself in negative behaviors in the workplace. This should only be done if the reporter feels comfortable doing so.
Employers should have a clear protocol for reporting this kind of alarming behavior in a way that protects all employees.
Security Guards and Workplace Violence
When it comes to securing any property, security guards can play a vital role in your overall security plan. By educating employees to identify behaviors that could indicate a physical threat to the safety and well-being of their coworkers and customers, you may be able to prevent many workplace violence situations from occurring in the first place.
However, it is clear that these types of events cannot always be identified early enough to prevent violence. Specially trained security guards can adeptly protect office spaces and commercial buildings in a number of important ways.
For one, security guards are trained to identify suspicious behavior. As they work with your company, they begin to get to know your staff and can better identify changes in behavior that could indicate a threat. When they notice unsettling changes, they can report it to the proper authority to ensure that the situation is remediated as soon as possible.
Security guards are also experienced in handling violent situations calmly and with a clear headedness that could help save lives. Through their training, they know techniques to deescalate tense situations and physically restrain someone if that is required. They can assist in emergency evacuations and in communicating with law enforcement to ensure that safety is restored quickly.
At Off Duty Officers, we have been providing off duty and retired law enforcement and military personnel and standard guards for a variety of security duties across the nation. As a leader in the industry for over 25 years, businesses of all sizes have relied on our teams to protect their companies from workplace violence, theft and the other security threats they face.
From California to Florida, Off Duty Officers is the trusted source for highly trained and sophisticated workplace violence security guards. When the security of your employees matters, contact Off Duty Officers to obtain a free quote for services and to learn more about how our teams can protect yours.