Content Areas in Workplace Violence Training

Originally workplace violence was once exclusive to specific industries such as the retail or health-care industry. Today workplace violence has spread to all businesses of all sizes and types. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics an estimated 18% of violent crimes is committed while the victim was working. Other studies have shown that workplace violence affects one out of every four full-time workers in America each year. The estimated costs involved with workplace violence have reached upwards $4 billion each year. It is vital that a company properly train its employees to be better guarded against workplace violence in the future.

A company should have a Workplace Violence Program (WVP) which documents the entirety of the company’s policy and plans in relation to workplace violence. A proper WVP should include instructions on conducting Workplace Violence Training (WVT) sessions. While OSHA currently does not require training in workplace violence issues they have put in place a series of voluntary guidelines. Through established procedures and policies employees should be made aware of potential security hazards and instructed on how to protect themselves and co-workers from harm.

Workplace violence training should include the following:

1. Verbal Instruction of Workplace Violence Policy
This section is a presentation on the company’s policies regarding to workplace violence and how the situation is generally handled both internally and externally. Employees need to know the harsh risks and penalties involved in workplace violence acts.

2. Workplace Violence Prevention
Violence prevention is a broad topic and includes actions to prevent workplace violence from occurring or how to spot the warning signs for a potential situation. Topics such as how to recognize workplace violence, defusing aggressive behavior and other techniques to reduce the chance of a violent situation from occurring.

3. Security Procedures
When an emergency situation occurs employees must be able to act quickly and respond in the appropriate manner. During training the employees should be made aware of all safety devices within their environment for use in emergency (i.e. first-aid, fire extinguishers, emergency phones). If law enforcement needs to be contacted, employees should be instructed in how to properly place a call and provide law enforcement with the information that they may need.

4. Personal Stress Management & Security
Part of the training needs to focus on how to take care of one self and maintain a culture of safety. These may include time management techniques to avoid stress and other relaxation methods. The employee should be reminded that a safe workplace begins with a calm and peaceful work environment. This section should promote physical and mental well-being.

5. Internal Programs Outline
Finally before a training session ends the instructor should outline whatever additional programs the company may offer to assist its employees. Programs such as the Employee Assistance Program, mediation and alternative dispute resolution should be discussed if the company has these programs in place. If an employee is interested in the EAP they should be instructed on the steps within the EAP and who they can contact for further information.

Proper workplace violence training should not be focused on the employees only. The supervisors and management should also receive training in how to manage a staff. Supervisory training should include basic leadership technique training, such as:

*Taking disciplinary action
* Encouraging employees to report incidents
* Handling violent situations and other crisis
* Screening of potential employees and checking references
* Addressing conflict resolution

Likewise the same goes for staff in charge of conducting investigations or leading the Employee Assistance Program. They must be competent in the skill area they are representing and able to work with a team of individuals to support these programs and investigations.

An excellent workplace violence program is only as good as its training. Ensure ALL employees are trained and fully understand all the elements of your workplace violence program. Everyone needs to know how to protect themselves and co-workers from harm.

Contact Craig Safety Technologies today to schedule Workplace Violence Training for your employees.

– Part 4 of 4 articles in the workplace violence series.

Dr. Isabel Perry prescribes solutions to reduce risk, costs and increase production for all types of organizations. Dr. Perry is an Orlando, Florida based Safety Professional with over 20 years of broad-based safety experience including: safety speaker, safety consultant, expert witness, and former safety executive at a Fortune 50 company. Her clients include many multinational firms. Dr. Perry’s can be contacted at:, phone: 407-291-1209.