Before and After Workplace Violence – What OSHA Recommends
Original article http://safetydailyadvisor.blr.com
By Chris Kilbourne
These strategies can help you manage workplace violence risks to prevent violent incidents as well as deal effectively with aftermath of an incident.
One-sixth of violent crimes occur in the workplace, according to OSHA. There are over half a million incidents each year. What’s more, violence is the second leading cause of workplace deaths. Three workers die each day. Guns are involved in 60 percent of the fatalities.
OSHA recommends an evaluation of the effectiveness of your violence prevention program as the starting point. An evaluation:
- Identifies any problems or deficiencies that can then be corrected
- Allows you to review program effectiveness and reevaluate policies and procedures on a regular basis
- Helps you analyze trends, measure improvement, and keep abreast of new initiatives to reduce workplace violence
Be Prepared to Deal with “After”
You also need to think about after, in case your best efforts at prevention fail. You should have a good program in place to support workers involved in violent incidents. If employees aren’t given adequate support, they may quit or be fearful of going back to work after an incident—even some who were not directly involved.
OSHA recommends a trained response team and capability to offer immediate post-incident assistance, including prompt medical attention and psychological evaluation.
A follow-up program (perhaps managed through an employee assistance plan) should also be in place for the longer term to offer:
- Support groups
- Stress debriefing
- Trauma-crisis counseling
Separate from the issue of response to employees’ post-incident needs is the issue of appropriate documentation.
Keeping records of violence-related incidents is important to the success of your violence prevention program and can help to identify and evaluate:
- Hazard control methods
- Training needs
In addition to records specific to your violence prevention program, other records may also be helpful, such as:
- Medical reports of work injury
- Incidents of abuse (e.g., verbal abuse or other acts of aggressions that don’t result in physical violence or injury)
- Disciplinary records concerning threats or prior incidents of abusive or aggressive behavior