Strategies for providing a safe working environment
Workplace violence is an unfortunate reality for many businesses, and it can take many forms, including physical assaults, verbal abuse, and bullying causing emotional distress. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide their employees with a safe work environment and take all necessary precautions to prevent violence in the workplace.
Prevention is Priority
The first step to keeping your employees safe while on the job is to do everything you can to prevent a workplace violence incident from occurring.
Create a prevention plan:
Make sure that employees are aware of the prevention plan and know what to do in case of a violent incident. This information should be easily accessible and understandable by all employees.
Employers should provide training to all employees about how to recognize the warning signs of potential violence and respond to violent situations. This includes training about de-escalation techniques, conflict resolution, and how to report incidents of workplace violence.
Create a culture of respect and inclusion:
Fostering a positive workplace culture that promotes non-violent behavior and encourages open communication is critical. Employers should create a work environment that values mutual respect, teamwork, and collaboration, thereby reducing tension and conflict.
Establish clear policies and procedures:
A critical step to prevent workplace violence is to establish clear policies and procedures that address the issue. This includes having a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of violence and harassment. It also means developing protocols for reporting and documenting incidents.
Conduct background checks:
Conducting thorough background checks on new hires is an essential step in preventing workplace violence. These checks can help identify individuals with a history of violent behavior or criminal activity.
Implement stringent security measures:
Implementing security measures, such as installing cameras, alarms, and access control systems, can help deter violent behavior in the workplace. Employees should be trained about how to use security equipment and follow established protocols.
Address employee grievances:
Ensuring that employees have a way to file grievances and have their concerns addressed can help prevent violent incidents in the workplace. Employers should have an open-door policy that encourages workers to bring up their concerns and feel confident enough to report issues.
Promote employee wellbeing:
Employers can promote employee wellbeing through employee assistance programs, wellness programs, stress management programs, and other initiatives to help alleviate work-related stresses that can lead to triggering violent behavior. Management should take the time to establish personal relationships with their employees and ensure that they are available to listen to their concerns.
Control access to the workplace:
Uncontrolled access allows strangers into an area, putting your employees at risk. Implementing a check-in process for guests that includes identification and approval is a good way to ensure total control. Employers should ensure that everyone wears proper identification, and visitors are guided to where they should go.
Hold regular safety drills:
Like fire drills, employers can hold regular safety drills and practice their prevention plan. This action helps reinforce the importance of preparedness, and it’s a great way to test the effectiveness of their prevention plan to identify loopholes that need work. The drills can also involve role plays, where employees can practice de-escalation techniques and try safely handling unpredictable incidents. This action assures employees that their safety concerns are being taken seriously and shows that the employer is committed to keeping them safe.
Establish a crisis response team:
In case of a violent incident in the workplace, it’s crucial to have a crisis response team that can swiftly resolve the situation. The team should be trained to handle emergency situations
confidently, and their contact information should be readily available and used when necessary. The crisis response team can consist of security personnel, human resources, and management staff, among others.
Create an emergency response plan:
Employers should also have an emergency response plan and ensure that all employees are aware of it. This document should contain essential information, such as contact information for emergency services, evacuation routes, and safety protocol ahead of an emergency.
How does Insurance play a role?
The role of insurance in a workplace violence prevention program is two-fold: preventive and restorative.
Insurance providers can offer services, such as risk assessment, safety audits, and workplace violence prevention training for employees. By investing in these services, businesses can potentially identify and mitigate any potential risks of workplace violence before they escalate. Consult your trusted insurance advisor to learn more about what your carriers offer.
Insurance providers can offer coverage for losses associated with a workplace violence incident, including bodily injury, property damage, business interruption, legal fees, and other costs. This coverage can help businesses recover and rebuild after a violent incident while protecting them from potential financial ruin. Insurance companies can also assist with developing customized policies that address the specific needs of an organization with regards to workplace violence. This includes tailoring coverage limits, deductibles, and other policy terms to ensure that a business is adequately covered should a violent incident occur. Consult your trusted insurance advisor to discuss your risks and the appropriate coverages to manage them.
Violence in the workplace is a real threat, and employers must take all necessary precautions to prevent it and promote a safe work environment. By taking the steps above, employers can help create a safe, positive, and productive environment for their employees, and help minimize potential losses and disruption in the event of an incident with the appropriate insurance coverage in place.
Contact our team of advisors for more information about how we can help.