it’s a tough one – workplace violence is real!

You no doubt have seen the video or at least heard about the horrific shooting in Virginia yesterday (8/26/15), described as a “workplace violence” incident. As a Human Resources leader, and the one who often gets the “911 calls” at work, I sometimes ask myself how my company would react if a person was intent on doing an employee harm. Over the past 35 hours, the question has consumed much of my time. Workplace violence is the second leading cause of death on the job, behind only traffic fatalities. We have no federal workplace violence standard, but experts tell us “having a policy in place, no matter how small or large the business, is a necessity.” 

In 1970, OSHA set out to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work. They say employers must provide employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. That’s the problem – as employers, we are typically unaware that something as tragic as a shooting, assault, or any kind of violence would actually happen in OUR company. Experts, and there are many of them, will tell you how to ensure workplace safety. But there are as many “ways” as there are experts. Many of their “tips” are solid advice. For me – I’ll be listening closely to all my employees, terminating with compassion and caution, training leadership to spot aggressive behaviors, and what to do with that information… Nope, I do not believe we can eliminate some people from doing harm to other people, but we can try. As I often recited as a Boy Scout: “On my honor, I will do my best…” SLL

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