In response to findings such as the ones outlined in the survey by the Atlanta-based American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) and the overarching prevalence of workplace violence among the U.S. work force, the AAOHN and the FBI offer this guidance to help companies develop workplace prevention and education programs:
- Management should conduct a thorough organizational risk assessment and develop workplace violence prevention policies and programs that address potential risks in environmental design (security cameras, key card access), administrative controls, and behavioral strategies.
- Programs should clearly define the spectrum of workplace violence (ranging from harassment to homicide), delineate employee responsibilities for recognizing and reporting signs, and be shared with every employee. All programs should promote zero tolerance.
- Ask for and integrate employee ideas when developing and implementing a violence prevention program.
- Create a confidential and seamless reporting system. Encourage workers to report any and all concerns to a single representative, such as an occupational health and safety professional or human resource manager.
- Incorporate a variety of communications tools such as posters, newsletters, staff meetings, and new employee materials.
- When training employees, review common warning signs, behavioral traits, and how to recognize potential problems. Employees also should understand that each case is different and to not limit at-risk behavior to a standard profile.
- Involve all employees in workplace violence prevention programs. Training should be ongoing and mandatory for every employee.
- As an employee, actively participate in all education and awareness programs. If you do not have a violence prevention program at work, request information from your occupational health department, human resource department, or manager.
- As an employee, if you recognize that a colleague exhibits at-risk behavior, report any concerns to your human resources representative.