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  • Writer's pictureSam Wilks

Strategies for Preventing Workplace Violence




Addressing the prevention of violent episodes in the workplace starts with recognising unacceptable behaviour and taking proactive measures before any outbreak of violence. Predicting human behaviour is inherently challenging, and there is no definitive "profile" of a potentially dangerous individual. Nevertheless, certain indicators can signal an increased risk of violent behaviour. These indicators are valuable tools iforunderstanding and managing these risks.


Key indicators include direct or veiled threats, intimidating or belligerent conduct, bullying, frequent conflicts with supervisors, bringing or referring to weapons inappropriately, and expressions of fascination with past incidents of workplace violence. Other warning signs may be more personal, such as expressions of desperation over personal issues, substance abuse, or significant behavioural changes.


It is crucial that none of these signs be overlooked. By identifying and addressing these issues promptly, managers can potentially prevent the escalation to violence. Preparation is key; organisational planning should include training for staff to handle such situations effectively. Depending on the behaviour, responses might range from involving law enforcement or security, taking disciplinary action, or referring the employee to an assistance program.


It is important to approach the issue with caution. Relying solely on what are often inaccurately referred to as "profiles" or "early warning signs" to predict violent behaviour is not advisable. Profiles that label individuals based on general characteristics—like being a "loner" or demographic features—are unlikely to be helpful and may lead to unfair stereotyping. Similarly, caution should be exercised when considering signs that might simply reflect personal challenges, such as undergoing therapy, experiencing a family death, suffering from mental health issues, or facing job insecurity.


Training for managers and supervisors should emphasise supporting employees through their difficulties, not just in the context of preventing violence but to foster a supportive workplace environment. Understanding that life's challenges are universal and most people navigate them without resorting to violence underscores the importance of a balanced and thoughtful approach to employee relations and crisis management. Its about the approach, not focusing on the outcomes.


 From the author.


 The opinions and statements are those of Sam Wilks and do not necessarily represent whom Sam Consults or contracts to. Sam Wilks is a skilled and experienced Security Consultant with almost 3 decades of expertise in the fields of Real estate, Security, and the hospitality/gaming industry. His knowledge and practical experience have made him a valuable asset to many organizations looking to enhance their security measures and provide a safe and secure environment for their clients and staff.

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