What is Workplace violence?

Workplace violence is defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the worksite. According to OSHA, about 2 million people each year report some type of workplace violence and it is estimated that 25 percent of workplace violence goes unreported.

The 4 types of workplace violence.

  1. Criminal Intent. The offender has no legitimate relationship to the business or its employees and is committing a crime in conjunction with the violence. According to Di Ann Sanchez, a senior professional in human resources (SPHR) & founder of DAS HR Consulting, 85% of workplace violence homicides fall into this category.
  2. Customer or Client. The offender has a legitimate relationship to the business and becomes violent while being served by the business. This category includes customers, clients, patients, students or any group for which the business provides services. This type of workplace violence accounts for approximately 3 percent of all workplace homicides (HR Daily Advisor).
  3. Worker-on-Worker. The offender is an employee or past employee who attacks or threatens other employee(s) or past employee(s) in the workplace. All businesses are at risk for this type of violence but those with higher risk include those that do not conduct background checks as part of the hiring process or are downsizing or reducing their workforce.
  4. Personal Relationship. The offender usually does not have a relationship with the business but has a personal relationship with the victim. This category includes victims of domestic violence or threatened at work. This type of violence is most difficult to prevent in workplaces that are accessible to the public during business hours. 

What is the impact on businesses?

There are several direct and indirect costs of workplace violence. A half-million employees miss an estimated 1.8 million work days each year due to workplace violence — resulting in more than $55 million in lost wages. The annual comprehensive cost to businesses, including estimated losses, is now $130 billion compared to $36 billion in 1995.

If you couple that with potential lawsuit settlements and the indirect effects like less productivity due to low morale and fearful employees, the true cost can be staggering.

How can the risk be reduced?

A good start point is understanding the four types of workplace violence above. Once you do this, you can devise measures to mitigate the risk.

Many organizations and employees are unable to recognize the warning signs and are ill-equipped to respond to workplace violence. Addressing these challenges promptly and effectively can mean all of the difference in the world.

GRA Maven develops strategies to assist in understanding the types of workplace violence and evaluate your preparedness to keep your employees safe. Our training will help you recognize the warning signs of an employee under stress, how to deescalate an agitated employee and also provide necessary actions to take when workplace violence does occur.

Contact us today to see how we can help you keep your employees safe.