Workplace Violence Prevention

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1 Workplace Violence Prevention (406) Dear Laura, It s time to remove the kid gloves. It s my option to make your life miserable if that is what you really want. I told you if I get fired or lose my clearance, I can force you to go out with me. You asked me what I could do, Kill you? The answer to that was + still is No. If I killed you, you would not be able to regret what you did. I have your parents address, so what if you run, I m ready to follow. I m selling my houses; I have closed my retirement fund, sold my stock. I can go real quick. Let s say you don t back down + pretty soon I crack under the pressure + run amok, destroying everything in my path until the police catch me + kill me. Take Care, Rick Today s agenda: What is workplace violence or aggression, how can it manifest itself, and who can commit it? When is workplace violence committed? What are the signs? How can you prevent workplace violence? What if you cannot prevent violence? 1

2 Definition: Workplace Violence: Any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. A workplace may be any location, either permanent or temporary, where an employee performs any work-related duty. Who Can Be Vulnerable? Home visit workers Employees who work in high crime areas Patient care workers People working alone Emergency response personnel Facility safety and security officers Where Can WPV Occur? Emergency rooms Psychiatric units Waiting rooms Geriatric units Pharmacies Isolated areas: Elevators, restrooms, stairwells 2

3 When Can WPV Occur? Times of low staffing Mealtimes Visiting hours Patient transportation Sources By strangers No relationship to the worker; intent is to commit robbery or other violent act; victim is outside the traditional workplace setting By customers/clients Customers who are inherently violent Customers who become violent due to situation Situations that put employees at risk Sources continued.. By co-workers Perpetrator in the workplace Supervisor/employee & between co-workers By personal relations Current or former spouse or partner who enters the workplace with intent to harm 3

4 Healthcare Sources Patients Residents Mentally or emotionally disturbed people Drug addicts Family/friends of patients or clients Triggers Economic or Financial Pressures Insensitive Terminations More of a case of HOW the layoff, RIF or termination was handled Failing to allow employee to maintain dignity during or after termination Triggers continued... Rigid, authoritarian management style Cited as the #1 reason why employees leave their employer. Makes employees feel insignificant, stifles creativity Lack of discipline Ignoring bad behavior only enforces it Creates sense of entitlement to job makes harder to terminate later 4

5 more Triggers Breakdown of institutions Family, home, church, community are not the support systems they used to be Glamorization of violence Media Romantic failure Rejection and finally, more Triggers Overcrowded waiting room Involuntary patient admission Long waits for service Extreme stress or serious personal problems Corporate Security Threats 1. Workplace violence 6. Theft 2. Computer security 7. Unethical business conduct 3. Business interruption 8. Equipment theft 4. Fraud 9. Drug & Alcohol use 5. Employee selection 10. Sexual harassment 5

6 Statistics...according to the BLS 2-Million reports of WPV each year in the USA. 22% of workplace homicides involve former employees 43% of workplace homicides involve current employees 21% of workplace homicides involve domestic disputes 14% of WPV incidents involve customers, or clients 18% of all work-related fatalities are homicides Statistics...according to the BLS 1 in 6 violent crimes in the US occurs at work 30% of these are confronted by armed offenders Approximately 75% of WPV instances are simple assault Almost half of workplace assault injuries occur in health care and social services Highest rate in the service sector JACA Elements applied to the Dear Laura Letter.. J Justification for violence A Alternatives C Consequences A Ability De Becker, Gavin, The Gift of Fear, Dell Publishing,

7 Indicators Inflexibility Resists change Rigid and unwilling to discuss ideas contrary to his/her own Weapons Has recently purchased or has a weapons collection Makes frequent comments about or discusses weapons as instruments of power or revenge Additional Indicators Chronic Anger Over reactions, difficulty letting things go Depression Some symptoms include: changes in weight, irritability, sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed; possibly talks about suicide Hopelessness What s the use? Nothing ever changes anyway. I ve got no future. Loner Even more Indicators Identifies With Violence Refers to, jokes about, or is fascinated with news stories about violence Attracted to violent films, magazines, books, or gruesome news events Writes violent stories or notes Co-Workers Fear Whether or not reason can be articulated 7

8 Additional Indicators Threatens, Intimidates, Manipulates Others Talk about their intention to harm others or themselves Paranoia Others are out to get him; conspiracy Criticism Reacts adversely to; is suspicious of those who criticize; refuses to consider criticism Blame Refuses to take responsibility for own actions Additional Indicators Crusades Wages a one-man war Unreasonable Expectations Expects an apology or declared a winner in a dispute Grievance History of filing grievances or has one pending Personal or Professional Problems Even more Indicators yet Encounters with the Law Recent arrest or police encounters; history of assaultive offenses Recent News Stories about WPV or Other Violent Acts Major incidents of WPV tend to come in clusters, with perpetrators often referring to those who preceded them in the news 8

9 Final Slide on Indicators Focus Monitors behavior, performance or comings and goings of fellow employees though not his/her job to do so Maintains a file on another employee Stalks another employee Contact If fired, maintains contact with current employees; appears more focused on job he/she lost than on finding a new one Contributing Factors to Violence Control when people perceive they have lost something, they can become violent in an attempt to regain control Identities Does the person have an identity outside of his/her jobs or job titles? Self-Esteem, Self-Image Does the person value his/herself? Others? Organizational Factors Lack of Due Diligence in Hiring Process Authoritarian Management Style Improperly Supervised Employees Understaffing and/or Excessive Demands for Overtime Improper Handling of Employee Grievances 9

10 Types of Threats Direct Conditional Veiled Quick Quiz: What type of threats are the following statements? 1) This isn t over yet! 2) If I get reported, she will pay dearly! 3) That ll be the last time you try that! 4) If that happened to me, I d show them! 5) I am going to kick your a! 6) Don t tell me not to make a mountain out of a mole hill! Prevention Program Assess physical security What assets need protection? Review any past incidents How did you respond? Evaluate current policies/develop new ones Examine it annually 10

11 Investigation Fact-finding, not fault-finding 1. Plan the Investigation 2. Prepare for the Interview 3. Hearing the Report 4. Investigate Document ID causes Evaluate evidence - credibility Corrective action Follow-up Prevention Tips Hiring Application review Background checks Criminal records Credit history References Interview questions Behavioral based Questions directly off application 11

12 Prevention Tips Performance & Behavior Management Probationary Period Praise for Performance Correction for Errors Timeliness Training, Coaching, Counseling EAP Referral Don t Ignore Problematic Behaviors or Poor Performance Address Employee Concerns Prevention Tips with Terminations Protect Employee Dignity Never Embarrass Treat with Courtesy and Understanding Treat Employee as if Reasonable Prepare for worst but not in ways detectable Prevention Tips with Terminations continued. Make Termination Complete No Gradual Separations Do Not Negotiate Meeting is to Inform Employee Only Prepare Script of Points You Want to Cover Let Employee Vent Boomerang Line This is not the time to rehash the past; we have to work on the future. Again remember to maintain a courteous manner during the meeting 12

13 Prevention Tips with Terminations continued. Post-Employment Inquiries What would you like us to tell callers about where to reach you? Inform employee what information you will provide prospective employers Be Direct Simply inform employee that decision to terminate has been made don t sugar coat Prevention Tips with Terminations continued. Describe Decision in General Terms It s best for both parties. Present situation is not serving either party. Don t lecture or try to improve employee at this point Time it Right Terminate at end of workweek if possible Allows cooling-off period Prevention Tips with Terminations continued. Choose Your Setting Use room out of view of other employees If possible, use neutral location, e.g. conference room, empty office Allow an easy exit 13

14 Prevention Tips with Terminations continued. Choose Your Cast Include someone in management the employee respects or admires Do not Include Armed Security Guards Local Police Big Ed from the Loading Dock Responding to Threats Value of Threats Determined by Reaction Never show a high appraisal of person s words and never show fear I understand you are upset, but the things you are talking about are not your style. I know you are far too reasonable and have too good a future to even consider such things. Responding to Threats Give Employee an Out We all say things when we react emotionally; I ve done it myself. I know you ll feel different tomorrow. 14

15 Responding to Threats Do Not Counter-threat Example, Oh, yeah? Well I ll have the cops on you the minute you try it! They engage the threatener and put you on his playing field You want opposite to disengage employee and play by your rules Decide if Anyone Needs to be Notified of Possible Risk What To Do If The Violence Cannot Be Prevented Run away if possible Signal a co-worker Back away and put obstacles between you and the attacker Active Shooter/Violence Basics- Coping Stay aware of environment and any possible dangers Be aware of the two exits nearest to you If unsafe to flee, stay in the office you are in, and secure the door. Only try to take the attacker down as a last resort. 15

16 Active Shooter/Violence Basics- Response RUN: Have an escape route and plan in mind Leave your belongings behind Keep your hands visible. CALL 911 WHEN SAFE Active Shooter/Violence Basics- Response HIDE: Hide in an area out of view of the attacker Block entry to where you are hiding and lock door Silence your cell phone Active Shooter/Violence Basics- Response FIGHT: This should only be as a last resort and your life is in imminent danger Attempt to incapacitate the attacker Act with physical aggression, throw objects at the attacker 16

17 How To Respond When Law Enforcement Arrives Remain calm, follow instructions Drop anything you have in your hands Raise hands, spread fingers How To Respond When Law Enforcement Arrives Keep your hands visible at all times Avoid quick movements towards law officers Avoid pointing, screaming, yelling Video Resource RUN-HIDE-FIGHT General information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vcsweju2d0 Healthcare-specific information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ywpnbugnh4 17

18 Personal Safety Tips Think about an escape Report threats Limit access for nonemployees Tell someone when working late Never admit to being alone Know your customers Pay attention Walk to/from your car with someone Keep valuables out of sight Have car keys ready Lock car doors Field Worker Safety Tips Know when and where risks are Know exits Carry self with confidence Trust instincts Get out of danger Call supervisor to see how to proceed Maintain communication in field Organizational Safety Tips Limit cash on site Improve visibility/lighting Physical separation of workers Restrict access Security devices/protocol Have security or reception greet visitors Review work practices & staff patterns Implementing policy and practice 18

19 Company Policy Review Err on the Side of Caution Consider safety first Trust your instincts Communicate concerns clearly and early Timeliness is Key Management needs to conduct timely investigations Questions? Phone: Content sources: Business & Legal Reports (BLR) U.S. Department of Homeland Security 19

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