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Fort Hood Rampage Kills 13, Wounds 43

1 Killed, 5 Wounded in Orlando Shooting: Officials Say Suspect was Fired from
Firm Where Incident Occurred

2 Dead, Up to 10 Wounded in Portland, Ore., Shooting


In the wake of this fall's spate of workplace shootings, HR professionals and managers nationwide are grappling with the horrific possibility of violence erupting in their own facilities.


HR Specialist’s free Workplace Violence Prevention Toolkit contains prevention strategies, tips on identifying potentially violent workers, advice for managers on maintaining a safe workplace, two sample anti-violence policies adaptable for use in any company and checklists to use in case violence does erupt. Download your free copy here.


An effective workplace violence prevention program starts with employee screening and ends with publicizing a tough anti-violence policy, according to Dennis A. Davis, a former SWAT team liaison who now directs client training for the employment law firm Ogletree Deakins.

Stressed out or mentally unstable people sometimes become violent—and sometimes they do so at work. There’s never been a better time to implement a violence prevention plan with these five elements:

1. Screen applicants

“Your best chance to avoid workplace violence is to avoid letting in a violent person in the first place,” Davis says.

Ask all applicants for personal as well as professional references. Insist on a face-to-face interview so managers can gauge an applicant’s temperament. Ask everyone who comes in contact with the applicant about their impressions.

Then trust your gut. Does this person seem stable?

2. Craft a tough anti-violence policy


You need a policy that stands on its own—not part of some other general policy on professional behavior or misuse of office equipment. That sends the signal that you’re serious about preventing workplace violence.

“Most people will go along with your expectations if you’re clear about them,” Davis says. Having a written policy does that.

Make sure it states you have zero tolerance for any kind of violence—and threats of violence. You can even expand it to cover off-duty threats that might spill back into the workplace later. Prohibit weapons on your premises. Require employees to read the policy and sign a receipt. Ask your vendors to read and enforce the policy when their employees are on your premises or work site.

3. Establish a crisis management team


A crisis management team consists of six to eight people who function as coaches before violence erupts and incident managers if it does. Include staffers from the HR, legal and security functions. There should be a representative from senior management and your employee assistance program if you have one.

The team should track complaints of violent or intimidating employee behavior. That can help identify potentially violent employees before they become physically dangerous. The crisis management team also functions as your liaison to the police if an incident occurs.

4. Train front-line supervisors and greeters

“These people are your eyes and ears, your early warning system,” says Davis. They’ll probably know if someone is about to become violent long before anyone else does.

Instruct supervisors to report every incident. Train receptionists and security on how to read aggressive body language and how to use verbal skills to defuse dangerous situations.

Tell everyone to call 911 if they are in danger or believe a situation is about to become violent.

5. Publicize your anti-violence program

Use meetings, newsletters, e-mail and the intranet to get the word out that your organization has a zero-tolerance policy on workplace violence. Be sure everyone knows how to contact the crisis management team and when to call 911.
 


To help prevent tragedies like those that paralyzed communities across the country this fall, download your free copy of the Workplace Violence Prevention Toolkit.

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