Loss and injury as a result of workplace violence has been an increasing issue of concern for many years. Implementation of a workplace violence prevention program is recommended by OSHA because it helps employees develop the skills necessary to mitigate the issue of violence on the job. If you need to improve your workplace violence prevention plan, the tips below can help you achieve that goal.
1. Involve Employees at All Levels
It’s true that knowledge is power, especially when it relates to information that everyone both vertically and horizontally across an organization must know about methods for preventing workplace violence. To optimize your workplace violence prevention plan, you must ensure there is buy in at the executive level, while also making sure there is effective communication among employees within every department. Involving employees at all levels includes establishing policies and defining roles so that everyone understands what’s expected of them.
A key aspect of the process is empowering your team to communicate with appropriate personnel should they have any concerns. This is especially important if an employee suspects the possibility of violence in the workplace. You should also request feedback from staff regarding policies that exist and genuinely consider responses received to see if any adjustments should be made.
2. Integrate Annual Training
As the days and months go by, it’s easy to forget what you’ve learned regarding workplace violence prevention. Even if you have a written policy that’s easily accessible by all employees, it’s important to provide a refresher on the policy. This doesn’t have to be a difficult process because there are online training programs that can be facilitated with ease.
You can also take advantage of group training to ensure your entire team understands and can recall what’s involved in workplace violence prevention. In addition to providing a refresher on the policy, training is necessary to satisfy occupational laws and regulations. It can also serve as proof that you are diligent in fostering a safe work environment that’s free of violence.
3. Establish a Threat Assessment Committee
Many companies develop a SWOT analysis as part of their initial business plan. This is a tool that measures the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of a business so that problem areas can be addressed. This tool can also be used for the purpose of assessing threats of workplace violence. It’s best to establish a team of professionals from within your business that can provide valuable information from different perspectives as it relates to assessing threats of violence. There should be a standard meeting schedule based on the needs of the company. This might be monthly or quarterly.
4. Clarify Incident Response Steps
One of the critical steps involved in a solid workplace violence prevention plan is making sure there is clarification on the steps involved in responding to an incident. This can be any minor issue that arises, which is important because there’s a possibility to prevent a more serious issue. The incident response protocol should be in writing and accessible to all employees because everyone should know how to respond appropriately if an issue arises.
It’s important to communicate that any information shared while reporting a potential problem will remain confidential. It should also include what happens if there is a major incident, including the personnel involved and any counseling that should take place through employer-provided resources. Another important step in an incident response is debriefing what has happened to make any necessary adjustments and improvements.
You’ll want to make sure your workplace violence prevention plan answers many of the common questions that will arise. The comprehensive nature of the plan means it will include details about weapons in the workplace, how employees will be disciplined for violating the policy and details related to health and safety. It will also include information concerning alcohol and drug use, such as protocols for drug testing.
A critical area that should be assessed when improving your company’s workplace violence prevention plan is how employees will be treated when terminated. This includes how they will be paid, how you will facilitate their last day of employment and whether the termination increases the risk of workplace violence. This is one of many situations that should be handled with sensitivity.