Workplace Safety - Violence

Workplace Safety – Violence

Workplace violence constitute those incidents where employees or workers are abused, threatened, humiliated or attacked, either by people from within or outside their workplace. It involves clients, employee, visitors and customer etc. This workplace violence ranges from verbal abuse and threats to physical assaults and even homicide.

Many people think of violence as a physical assault. However, workplace violence is a very big concern and much broader problem. It is an act where a person could be threatened, assaulted or intimidated, abused in his or her employment.

Workplace violence also includes −

  • Threatening behavior
  • Verbal or written threats
  • Harassment
  • Verbal abuse
  • Physical attacks

What is Workplace Violence?

Workplace violence is violence or the warning of violence against employees. It can happen at or outside the workplace and can range from danger and verbal abuse to physical attacks and crime, one of the main causes of job-related deaths.


Workplace violence is a growing concern for employers and employees globally. It is complex and heterogeneous phenomenon. The perception about what constitutes violence varies in different contexts and cultures. Acts of violence may range from minor cases of disrespect to criminal offences: including, homicide, physical assault, threat, verbal insult, harassment (bullying, mobbing), sexual harassment and discrimination.

Workplace violence can be both internal and external. Internal workplace violence occurs among employees or workers of the organization, whereas, external violence is perpetrated by persons outside the organization.

How to Identify Workplace Violence?

Though workplace violence takes shape all of a sudden it has its foreground or breeding grounds. Every stakeholder of an organization should remain alert and mindful about the possible grounds that can erupt violence.

It is pertinent to know that both individual and organizational factors cause workplace violence.

  • Too much complaining or moaning − This can be the first symptom that a colleague has had a prompting event that might increase to anger and violence, especially if he is basically content at work.
  • Removal − A co-worker who entirely departs into his shell could be instructing that he is having trouble coping.
  • Deviation from usual behavior − If your colleague is usually reticent and egoist, and all of a sudden starts babbling and mixing around or if an extrovert departs and grows mum, that can be a symptom that something is wrong.
  • Compulsive thought patterns or discussions − If an employee starts jiving against “the machine” or talking continually about the injustice of the world, it could be a threatening sign.
  • Biased demands − When an employee becomes restless and wants an immediate response, like the marketing director who wants to meet the CEO immediately, such behavior could instruct that he is in a troubled state.
  • Personal insults − If an otherwise respectful colleague flies off the handle and attacks, that can mean his anger is building. If one employee gets insulted before his colleagues or top managers, he/she feels humiliated and can turn himself/herself into a potential source of violence in not-so-distant future.
  • Warning − It may seem apparent, but Staver says this is the most forceful sign that violence could happen. If your co-worker starts saying, individually, that he needs to hurt someone, that’s a red flag, he says, especially if the person has explicit plan, the resolution to carry it out, and the means to see it through.

How to Address Workplace Violence?

Preventing and managing workplace violence is an onerous task. The instruction is a practical, convenient tool that builds on the strategy approach of the Framework Guidelines. Representatives of governments, employers and employees would be well served to utilize the booklet in training conditions, so as to motivate social dialogue among health sector investors and develop, in consultation, approaches to address violence in the workplace.

Workplace Violence

This Training Manual is a counterpart to the Framework Guidelines. These two documents comprised of a package that should make possible distribution and useful utilization of the Framework Guidelines.

  • Functioning − Regularly, the crisis team should direct tabletop exercises to pretend incidents of workplace violence.
  • An emergency messaging system − Good ideas are important in any crisis. But relying on a phone tree isn’t a feasible communication scheme.

Implement a Workplace Harassment Policy

Every employer should have a written policy particularly preventing sexual harassment. The policy should be included in the employee handbook, distributed to all new employees, posted, redistributed on a daily basis, and discussed to employees often.

Make sure the policy includes the right provisions. The policy should include language that −

  • Utters sexual harassment will not be tolerated
  • Specifies and provides examples of sexual harassment and other forbidden conduct
  • Plans a process for employees to make complaints about sexual harassment, and motivates all employees to report incidents of distasteful sexual conduct
  • Gives several access for an employee to report sexual harassment so that the employee can avoid his or her manager, who might be the so-called harasser
  • Satisfies that all complaints will be managed as secretly as possible
  • Promises that employees who complain about sexual harassment will not suffer unfavorable job reactions as a result of the complaint
  • Expresses that any employee who engages in disagreeable sexual conduct is subject to discipline, up to and including discharge, and
  • Needs supervisors and managers to immediately report doubtful sexual conduct.

Managers and supervisors must become completely common with the employer’s policy preventing sexual harassment. They should reread the policy on a daily basis and consult the policy when any sexual harassment issue arises.