Avoiding Workplace Violence: Property Managers & Employees
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2 million Americans are impacted by workplace violence (WPV) annually. Homicide is the fourth leading cause of fatal workplace injuries nationwide and the number one cause of workplace deaths for women (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).
Q. What exactly does workplace violence mean?
A. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “workplace violence is violence or the threat of violence against workers. It can occur at or outside the workplace and can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide. However it manifests itself, workplace violence is a growing concern for employers and employees nationwide." OSHA provides a fact sheet for employers about the scope of WPV and tips for its prevention.
The FBI has four classifications of WPV:
- Violence perpetrated by criminals who have no connection to the organization
- Violence by abusive spouses, or partners of employees
- Violence against employees by customers or patients
- Violence by employees toward managers and co-workers
Q. What are the warning signs of a troubled employee?
A. Workplace violence can start as small incidents involving negative remarks and inappropriate behavior that may escalate to physical or psychological violence. The following warning signs, found on Glassdoor, may indicate that an employee is likely to commit WPV. However, it is important to remember that just because someone exhibits one of these behaviors does
not necessarily mean they are prone to acts of violence. It is when
someone has a noticeable change in behavior, when the behavior is
displayed constantly or when behaviors are observed in combination
that you should consider telling management about the situation.
- Excessive tardiness or absences
- Increased need for supervision
- Lack of performance
- Change in work habits
- Inability to concentrate
- Signs of stress
- Change in attitude
- Weapons fascination
- Drugs and alcohol
- Not taking responsibility for their actions
Q. What actions should property managers take to prevent workplace violence?
A. According to the Texas Apartment Association Redbook, reprinted in HAA's February 2012 issue of ABODE, the first step to securing the safety of you and your employees is to have a plan in place to prevent WPV and respond appropriately should it ever occur. You should also make your company policies regarding what constitutes violent behavior and its consequences clear. Practice your plan once it is implemented to make your employees more effective in diffusing violent situations.
Check out more tips to mitigate WPV from Security Magazine here.
Do you want to learn more about WPV and its prevention?
Business Owner's Toolkit explains the Texas laws dealing with WPV.
Livestrong describes the causes of WPV.
Ready Houston has released an instructional video about how to deal with workplace violence (run, hide or fight).