Workplace Violence: Warning Signs & Proper Responses

A Safe Workplace Is A Productive Workplace

Every worker has the right to work in a safe and secure environment, regardless of whether or not that workplace is an office building, a manufacturing facility, a hospital or a university. Any team member could potentially experience an act of workplace violence. The position or seniority level of the employee won’t be a factor. As the business owner or manager, you’re responsible for everyone’s safety, and to put proper safeguards in place to protect them.


Types of Workplace Violence

Workplace violence is a serious issue. Violence against an employee, or even just the threat or implication of violence, constitutes workplace violence. 

There are four main categories of workplace violence:

  • Personal relationship: The perpetrator is personally known by your staff member and threatens, or acts on, the employee while they’re at work.
  • Criminal intent: The perpetrator isn’t related to your business in any way.
  • Worker-on-Worker: Occurs when co-workers engage in threats or violence against each other. 
  • Customer-on-Worker: When a disgruntled customer or client attacks an employee.

Each situation has the potential to cause emotional trauma, debilitating injury, or even fatality. Hostilities such as physical or verbal assaults, threats, intimidation and all forms of harassment constitute as acts of workplace violence.


The Warning Signs 

Prevention should be a priority if you want to create a safe and secure environment for your team. Awareness and how to recognize warning signs, and actions that can be taken to avoid or minimize an occurrence are key. The following are the warning signs you should be aware of and recognize to prevent and minimize the chance of an incident taking place:  

  • Cars that are parked in the same spot for a long period of time, or are parked abnormally or if the car itself seems suspicious
  • Individuals overly interested in hours of operation, layout, or other operational or structural information
  • Video recording or photographing the exterior or interior of a building by an unknown person
  • Excessive absenteeism, lateness or leaving early
  • Clothing out of season, such as winter wear in the middle of summer
  • Increased mistakes, errors or unsatisfactory work quality or a refusal to acknowledge job performance

A manager should be notified to try to encourage the employee to seek assistance.


Prevention From a Security System

The first step is to create a prevention program that compliments your integrated security system layers. A comprehensive security and alarm system can help protect your team and keep all occupants safe.

Security system layers such as access control systems, intrusion detection, video surveillance, fire and life safety alarms can help detect, deter and prevent potential violence in your workplace. For example, an access control system can prevent any unauthorized entry and video surveillance will capture any evidence of suspicious behavior.

Workplace visitors and employees will be less likely to engage in workplace violence if they’re aware there are system devices in place and are visibly noticeable. 

The potential for an incident to occur, or its potential severity, should never be underestimated. 

Being proactive is the key to prevention. 


Respond To Violence

In the unfortunate event of an act of violence, try to maintain your composure and activate the alarm system signal or panic button, which will initiate the emergency response from local authorities. Act immediately in a reasonable way to protect your life. 

  • Stay quiet
  • Evacuate 
  • Help others, if possible

Memorize these three important steps: Run, Hide, Fight —in that order. 

And hopefully, you never experience the warning signs above.


ASI, The Security Professionals 

ASI has been serving nationwide clients from Quincy, Illinois since 1974. A UL-listed central monitoring station and Honeywell Platinum certified, ASI remains one of the largest, most experienced security integrators designing, installing and maintaining whole systems. In addition to Fire and Life safety system, ASI also offers PA and Medical Alert Systems (PERS), Environmental Monitoring, Nurse Call, Real-Time Location and Wander Management and more!