Workplace violence is an uncomfortable topic that is easy to push to the back of your mind with “that would never happen here.” It is unthinkable but needs to be addressed.
Workplace violence is an act of aggression intended to inflict physical harm to another individual.
Even with a lot of employees working remotely, workplace violence is a significant concern. Most of the workers in industries with the highest amount of workplace violence incidents according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics are essential and continue to work through COVID-19 lockdowns.
Additionally, the CDC published workplace violence prevention policies for service and retail workers. The publication stated, “Workers may be threatened and assaulted as businesses try to put into place COVID-19 prevention policies and practices.” In order to prevent an incident, it is vital to understand the various types of violence that can occur. There are four different types of workplace violence commonly identified by the FBI in the Workplace Violence publication and other government agencies.
Type I: Stranger
Type I violence is instances when the perpetrator has no connection with the organization. Type I violence is usually incidents such as robberies, shoplifting, and homicide and are typically crimes of opportunity.
Type II: Customer/Client/Patient
Type II is when the perpetrator is indirectly connected to the organization like a customer or client. Type II violence may occur when a customer is dissatisfied with service, a patient attacks a healthcare provider or other consumer-provider relationships. An example of Type II violence is a shooting in 2018 that took place at a popular social media company’s headquarters when a disgruntled user shot randomly at employees in the company’s courtyard.
Type III: Current/Former Coworker
Type III violence is where the perpetrator is a current or former employee and targets the organization’s employees randomly or systematically.
Type IV: Relationship with Employee
Type IV violence is when the perpetrator is outside the organization but has a current or previous intimate relationship with one of the employees. This type of workplace violence is recognized as an event that is typically an extension of domestic abuse or violence that carries over into the workplace.
All four types of workplace violence pose a significant threat to a business and the safety of employees. There are physical damages, financial damages, and other long-lasting effects on the health, morale, and productivity of employees.
Preventing workplace violence should have a multitude of layers.
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The following layers should be addressed for all organizations and constitute a good security baseline.
Proper screening and hiring of potential employees can reveal discerning criminal records and even cyberbullying on social media accounts.
Every workplace should have some form of physical security to deter, detect, and defend from violence.
Preventing violence continues through the effort of all employees to report any incidents of harassment and violence.
The widespread availability of social media allows perpetrators to vocalize their beliefs and intent. For example, before the attack on the social media company’s headquarters, the shooter posted messages and videos on various social media platforms displaying aggressive mannerisms that could be considered a “manifesto” and warning of things to come. Online monitoring can help prevent workplace violence by identifying potential threats and aggressive remarks.
Leverage PFC Safeguard’s Executive Security Operations Concierge (ESOC) services to add an extra layer of protection and peace of mind using open-source data and proprietary software programs. Analysts monitor potential threats through continuous analysis of grievances, prolific writings, and other aggressive behaviors. ESOC monitoring services are able to delve deeper than merely viewing surface web information. The surface web is composed of indexed websites that are searchable and discoverable through a specific search engine. ESOC can also view non-indexed websites such as forums using specific keyword searches. Most forums tend to display less censored and more extreme posts by users.