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Building A Safe Workplace: Preventing Workplace Violence Employee Training

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Title: Building A Safe Workplace: Preventing Workplace Violence Employee Training


1
Building A Safe WorkplacePreventing Workplace
ViolenceEmployee Training
and The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
2
Building A Safe Workplace Preventing Workplace
Violence
Contents
I. Introduction A. Self B. Program
Objectives C. Workplace Violence 1.
Responsibility and Workplace Impact 2.
Video II. Awareness A. Facts B.
Definitions C. Violent Episodes D. Domestic
Violence E. If You Know a Victim F.
Continuum of Violence G. What to Watch For H.
Warning Signs I. Triggers of Workplace
Violence J. Possible Motivations III.
Preparedness A. The Assault Cycle B. Avoiding
Victimization C. Workplace Violence
Coordinator/ Response Team
3
Building A Safe Workplace Preventing Workplace
Violence
IV. Intervention A. How to Address Types
of Violence B. Addressing Potential
Violence C. Suggestions for Dealing With Angry
People D. Preparing to Deal With Violence 1.
Aggressive Customer Behavior 2. Bomb
Threats 3. Telephone Threats 4. Suspicious
Mail,Packages and Deliveries V. The
Importance of Follow-up A. The Obligation to
Report Incidents B. How Trauma Affects
Employees 1. Stages 2. Symptoms 3.
Critical Incident Stress Debriefing(CISD) C.
Handouts 1. Things to Remember About
Trauma 2. What You Can Do For Others 3.
What You Can Do For Yourself VI.
Closing A. Review of resources B.
Questions C. Evaluation
4
Program Objectives
1. Participants will understand the mutual
responsibility of employer and employee to
maintain a safe place to work. 2. Participants
will be able to identify workplace situations
which may be potentially violent.
3. Participants will recognize the warning
signs for potential violence. 4.
Participants will learn how to respond to actual
or potentially violent workplace
situations.
5
Responsibility
The Commonwealth is committed to providing a
safe work environment The Commonwealths
Management Directive 205.33 provides for
safeguards to ensure a workplace which is free of
violence and threats of violence.


Employees, supervisors and managers who witness
or experience any workplace violence situation,
including threats of violence, must report the
incident through the established agency reporting
procedures to the appropriate authorities. All
incidents and suspected incidents of workplace
violence as defined in this directive, must be
reported. (Management Directive
205.33,Workplace Violence, 6/22/99.) All
employees are responsible for making
and reporting observations and taking measures
which help to facilitate and ensure a secure
workplace which is free from violence and
threats of violence.
6
The Facts
  • According to the National Institute for
    Occupational Health
  • and Safety (NIOSH), the following factors may
    increase a
  • workers risk of homicide
  • Exchange of money with the public.
  • Working alone or in small numbers.
  • Working alone at night or in the early morning
    hours.
  • Working in high crime areas.
  • Guarding valuable property or possessions.
  • Working in community settings.
  • Both men and women who work in government have a
    greater
  • number and higher rate of assaults than private
    sector employees.
  • The annual rate of nonfatal assaults against
    women working in
  • state government is 8.6 times higher than women
    in the private
  • sector women working in local government are 5.5
    times as likely
  • to be assaulted than private sector women.

7
Definitions
Workplace A workplace is any Commonwealth owned
or leased property, location where Commonwealth
business is conducted, or site where an employee
is considered on duty. Commonwealth vehicles
being utilized for Commonwealth business are
included in this definition. Additionally,
workplace violence can occur at any location if
the violence has resulted from an act or decision
made during the course of conducting Commonwealth
business. Violence Violence connected to the
workplace takes many forms. Incidents of
workplace violence include, but are not limited
to threats in person, by letter or note,
telephone, fax, or electronic mail intimidation,
harassment to include sexual harassment, mugging,
robbery,and attempted robbery, and destruction of
Commonwealth property. Cases that are considered
extremely serious include, but are not limited
to, physical assault, rape,or murder, and bomb
threats. Incidents may take place between
employees employees and clients employees and
acquaintances/ partners and employees and
strangers. Incidents of workplace violence may
occur either at or away from the workplace. The
determining factors in assessing whether an
incident constitutes workplace violence are the
individuals involved and the relationship of the
action to the workplace the location of the
incident and/or if the violence is a result of
Commonwealth business. Assault To attack
someone physically or verbally, causing bodily or
emotional injury, pain and/or distress. This
might involve the use of a weapon, and includes
actions such as hitting, punching, pushing,
poking, and kicking. Also included may be
shouting, name calling, use of derogatory
language. Domestic violence A reference to
acts of physical and psychological violence,
including harassing or intimidating behavior,
that occur as a part of a personal relationship
such as marriage or other intimate relationships.
Included in the concept of domestic violence are
spousal abuse, abuse among intimates, as well as
physical and sexual abuse of children and/or the
elderly or the infirmed. Intimidating or
harassing behavior Threats or other conduct
which in any way creates a hostile environment,
impairs operations, or frightens or inhibits
others. Psychological intimidation or harassment
includes making statements which are false,
malicious, disparaging, derogatory, rude,
disrespectful, abusive, obnoxious, insubordinate,
or which have the intent to hurt others
reputations. Physical intimidation or harassment
may include holding, impeding, or blocking
movement, following , stalking, touching or any
other inappropriate physical contact or
advances. Threat Any oral or written
expression or gesture that could be interpreted
by a reasonable person as conveying an intent to
cause physical harm to persons or property.
Statements such as, Ill get him or She wont
getaway with this are examples of threatening
expressions. State Employee Assistance
Program(SEAP) A program for state employees
designed to assist employees and families with
substance abuse, emotional, family, financial,
marital, and/or personal problems. All
employees, supervisors,managers and union
stewards are encouraged to utilize the services
of SEAP when personal problems first develop
regardless of any job performance concerns.
Policy and procedures are contained in Executive
Order 1996-10, Management Directive 505.22 and
Manual M505.3, all titled State Employee
Assistance Management Directive 205.33,
Workplace Violence, 6/22/99 US Department of
Health and Human Services, HHS Guidelines
Understanding and Responding to Violence in the
Workplace, 11/96.
8
Violent Episodes
  • Stranger Violence
  • Random violence Perpetrator has no business
    relationship with the affected workplace.
    Example Armed Robbery
  • Types of businesses most vulnerable to this kind
    of violence include
  • - retail stores - banks
  • - warehouses - taxi cabs
  • - gas stations - convenience markets
  • Client Violence
  • Perpetrator is the recipient of, or providing a
    service to the affected workplace. Example
    Social Worker being attacked by client.
  • Personnel most vulnerable to this kind of
    violence
  • employees working in public safety police, fire,
    paramedics
  • mass transit drivers, delivery personnel
  • medical, mental health, and substance abuse
    treatment centers
  • customer service reps
  • Employee Violence
  • Perpetrator is an employee (including
    temporaries, sub-contractors), former employee,
    or associate of an employee. Example Employee
    attacks supervisor, employee attacks co-worker.
    All businesses are vulnerable to this kind of
    violence.
  • Domestic Violence
  • Perpetrator may be an employees family member,
    significant other, or partner. Example
    Spouse attacks employee. All businesses re
    vulnerable to this type of violence.

9
Domestic Violence
Domestic violence accounts for 27 of violent
events in the workplace. Violence is committed
by someone with a personal relationship with the
worker. Victims of domestic violence are
generally, but not exclusively, females. Most,
but not all incidents are perpetrated by
individuals outside the workplace. Early
warning signs in the victim include increased
fear, emotional episodes, signs of physical
injury, excessive phone calls, work performance
deterioration.
10
If You Know a Victim of Domestic Violence...
DO DONT Ask Wait for him/her to
come to you Express concern Judge or
blame Listen and validate Pressure Offer
help Give advice Support his/her
decisions Place conditions on your support
Remember Do not ignore the situation Refer to
SEAP as a resource Respect confidentiality
11
Continuum of Violence Behavioral Progression
  • Early on in the process there may be
  • Refusal to cooperate with immediate supervisor
  • Spreading rumors and gossip to harm others
  • Consistently arguing with co-workers
  • Belligerence toward customers/clients
  • Constantly swearing at others
  • Making unwanted sexual comments
  • As feelings grow there may be
  • Increasing number of arguments with customers,
    vendors, co-workers and management
  • Refusal to obey company policies and procedures
  • Sabotaging equipment and stealing property
  • Verbalizing wishes to hurt co-workers and/or
    management making suicidal threats
  • Sending sexual, violent, or inappropriate notes
    to co-workers and/or management.
  • Stalking
  • As behavior escalates there may be
  • Threatening / committing suicide
  • Physical fights
  • Destruction of property

12
What to Watch For
Everyone has his/her own normal behavior. Be a
good observer of unusual behavior which is a
change from ones normal routine.
Moderately Significant Criteria -Recent
behavior changes -Alienation -Excessively
bitter -Mental health, substance abuse
issues -Irrationality, grandiosity -Externalizes
responsibility for behavior -Raised in abusive
family -Sexual fetishes -Recent significant
self-esteem loss
Significant Criteria -Grudge over loss or threat
of loss -Recent loss of significant
other -Emotional mood swings -Fascination with
violence -Self-destructive behavior -Fascination
with pornography -Severe intoxication -Fear of
losing control -Rages -Abusive to opposite
sex -Symbolic dehumanization of others -Post
traumatic stress from combat
13
Warning Signs
  • History of violence
  • Mental illness
  • A romantic obsession
  • Substance abuse
  • Chronic blaming
  • Impaired neurological functioning
  • Increased frustration with ones circumstances
  • Fascination with weapons
  • Threats of revenge
  • Absence of emotional control

14
Triggers of Workplace Violence
  • Domestic disputes
  • Job performance counseling or disciplinary action
  • Job stress
  • Harassment
  • Racial, ethnic, cultural, gender or lifestyle
    conflicts
  • Furloughs
  • Terminations

15
Possible Motivations
Individuals exhibiting violent behavior may have
the following motivations
  • Face-saving
  • Attention-getting
  • Manipulating
  • Retaliating

16
Assault Cycle
First An individual has a traumatic
experience which creates such strong emotional
reactions that he or she believes those feelings
cannot be controlled or resolved. Individual is
terminated from job. Second The traumatized
individual projects responsibility for his/her
state of mind onto the situation, externalizing
blame for his/her unresolvable psychological
state. Believes termination occurred because his
supervisor did not like him/her. Third The
persons thinking turns inward and becomes
increasingly egocentric. Self-protection and
self-preservation become the only concern. From
this perspective, violence seems to be the only
way out. Terminated individual believes it will
be impossible to get a new job as long as firing
supervisor is around to give a reference. Fourth
Following a period of internal conflict, which
may be prolonged, the person commits or attempts
a violent act. Terminated individual attempts
to commit an act of violence to dispose of
previous supervisor.
17
Avoiding Victimization
Be alert. Be careful how you say and do
things. Avoid taking unnecessary risks. Use the
Buddy System. Park in well lighted
areas. Have an escape plan or route. Always let
someone know where you are. Be familiar with and
practice emergency procedures. Report any
incidents of potential or actual violence as
soon as possible.
18
Workplace Violence Coordinator/ Response Team
Purpose Assess the vulnerability to workplace
violence. Reach agreement on preventive actions
to be taken. Implement plans for responding to
acts of violence. Communicate internally with
employees. Recommend/ implement training
programs related to workplace violence.
Conduct a workplace assessment. Serve as a
Trauma Team during worksite incidents.
19
How to Address Types of Violence
  • Early Warning Signs
  • Observe and document
  • Report
  • to the appropriate supervisor
  • When the Situation Has Escalated
  • Remain calm
  • Secure your safety and that of others immediately
  • Contact supervisor, local law enforcement
    personnel
  • Contact SEAP for support, as needed
  • In an Emergency
  • Remain calm
  • Secure personal safety
  • Call emergency contact
  • Cooperate with security/ law enforcement
    personnel
  • Contact supervisor
  • Contact SEAP for support, as needed

20
Addressing Potential Violence Co-workers,
Clients, Strangers
Employees have a responsibility to maintain a
safe workplace. We recommend the following
process to assist employees in addressing
uncomfortable situations
  • Think before you act. Avoid confrontation. Use
    common sense.
  • Assess your personal feelings about the
    individual.
  • Describe the individuals behavior.
  • Assess how the behavior affects you.
  • Determine whether you need
    assistance in handling the problem.
  • Report the threat/behavior
    to your supervisor.

21
Suggestions for Dealing With Angry People
When in physical jeopardy, seek safety and call
law enforcement as soon as possible.
  • Give the aggressor your full attention use
    direct eye contactstay out of arms reach.
  • Let the aggressor express his/her concerns
    (vent) dont react to words with touching or
    reaching. Remain calm through the encounter.
  • Restate/validate their concerns.
  • Ask the aggressor for his/her suggestions on
    possible action for resolution.
  • Let the aggressor know what you can do and when
    you can get back to him/her with a resolution (if
    applicable).
  • Follow through on the concern/complaint.

22
Preparing to Deal With Violence
23
The Obligation to Report Incidents
  • Every Commonwealth employee is responsible to
    help ensure workplace safety.
  • As such, employees are to report any workplace
    situation which may contribute to the occurrence
    of violence to their supervisor in accordance
    with agency policy.
  • Supervisors are to take appropriate action and
    report back to the employee in a timely manner.
  • Inappropriate use of the reporting system is
    subject to disciplinary action. Any report made
    in good faith will be accepted.

24
How Trauma Affects Employees
Following traumatic situations individuals
experience normal reactions to an abnormal
event. Crisis reactions demonstrated by
employees who are victims and/or observers of
violent incidents generally fall into several
stages Stage One Emotional Reaction
Stage Behaviors are typical of a fight or
flight stress reaction and include disbelief,
denial, tearfulness. Physical symptoms may
include racing of the heart, hyper-vigilance dist
urbances of eating, sleeping, and
concentration. Stage Two Impact Stage Emotions
intensify and may include rage, anger, grief,
depression, guilt, withdrawal. Physical symptoms
may also intensify. Stage Three Reconciliation
Stage Individual has had an opportunity for
self-evaluation of the incident , begins the
process of reintegration, resolution and
closure.
25
Common Symptoms After a Critical Incident
After experiencing a traumatic event, it is very
common, in fact quite normal, for people to
experience a wide range of emotional or physical
reactions. These responses may appear
immediately after the event or some time later.
They may last for a few days, a few weeks, or
even longer. Dont worry -- these are normal
reactions to an abnormal situation. Its
important to understand that like the flu, your
reactions will run their course and you will feel
better in time. The following are some of the
most common symptoms
  • Emotional
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Depression, sadness, grief
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless
  • Feeling numb
  • Irritability
  • Inappropriate emotional responses
  • Anger
  • Guilt, survivor guilt, survival guilt
  • Phobias
  • Denial
  • Excessive worry about others
  • Agitation
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Cognitive Thoughts
  • Confusion
  • Difficult concentrating and making decisions
  • Memory problems
  • Behavioral
  • Social withdrawal/Silence
  • Hyperalert to environment, hypervigilance
  • Suspiciousness
  • Emotional outbursts, loss of control
  • Changes from typical behavior
  • Avoiding thoughts, feelings or situations related
    to the event
  • Changes in communication
  • Change in sexual function
  • Increased consumption or alcohol and/or other
    drugs
  • Physical
  • Nausea/Diarrhea
  • Shallow breathing
  • Twitches/Tremors
  • Dizziness/Faintness
  • Chills/Sweating
  • Easily startled/Jittery
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite

26
Critical Incident Stress Debriefing
  • Definition
  • Structured informal discussion that provides
    education, validation, reassurance and support
    for participants reactions to a critical
    incident while allowing an opportunity to
    ventilate. Debriefings are not counseling,
    treatment or psychotherapy.
  • Purpose and goals
  • To facilitate recovery from traumatic stress and
    reduce or prevent post traumatic stress disorder,
    depression, anxiety or panic reaction, phobias,
    or other mental health concerns.
  • Process
  • Introduction
  • Facts
  • Thoughts
  • Reactions
  • Symptoms
  • Teaching
  • Re-entry

NOTE Requests for a CISD must be made by the
SEAP Coordinator and coordinated with the Office
of Administration- SEAP.
27
Things to Remember About Trauma
  • Everyone responds differently to trauma. Try not
    to judge yourself or others. This is an important
    time to honor your own feelings and experiences
    as well as those of others.
  • Experiencing a critical incident may trigger
    memories of other trauma you have experienced.
    This is normal and although painful, will pass in
    time.
  • Take care of yourself. It is important to rest,
    eat well, and exercise to relieve pent-up
    feelings and stress. Put unrelated stressful
    decisions on hold. Dont force yourself to do
    things that feel uncomfortable. Allow for time
    alone and with others as you need it.
  • A trauma in the workplace is serious. We may not
    realize how much a part of our lives our
    co-workers have become until something happens to
    one of them.
  • While we may question the appropriateness of
    grieving at work, it is necessary in order to
    put closure on the incident. People grieve in
    different ways and those differences need to be
    supported and respected.
  • It can be helpful to consider the possible
    positive results that can come from experiencing
    a trauma or loss. The experience can lead to a
    reassessment of whats really important, an
    opportunity to make changes, and to be more
    appreciative of those around us. For many
    people, surviving a crisis can help build
    self-confidence. Knowing they had the strength
    to manage through a very difficult situation can
    lead to believing If I made it through that I
    can make it through anything!

28
What You Can Do for Others
  • Take care of yourself first. Then you can help
    others.
  • Listening
  • Listen carefully.
  • Acknowledge feelings as normal.
  • Be sensitive to individual circumstances, and
    different points of view.
  • Dont respond with youre lucky it wasnt
    worse. Instead, say that you are sorry such an
    event has occurred and you want to understand and
    help.
  • Dont take emotional responses like anger
    personally.
  • Respect an individuals need for privacy. If
    someone doesnt want to talk about the incident
    or their feelings, dont insist.
  • Reaching Out At Work
  • Organize support groups at work to help one
    another
  • Offer a listening ear to someone who hasnt
    asked for help but may need it.
  • Give encouragement, support and understanding
    with on-the-job issues.
  • Identify resources for additional help (SEAP,
    mental health benefit, human resources
    department).
  • Helping Family and Friends
  • Offer to spend time with the traumatized person.
    Reassure them that they are safe now.
  • Offer help with everyday tasks like cleaning,
    cooking, caring for the family.
  • Respect their need for privacy and time alone.
  • Suggest available help (SEAP, community
    resources, church groups, etc.)
  • Keep communication open - be available and
    accessible.

29
What You Can Do For Yourself
When youve experienced a trauma, it can be a
shock to your whole system. The following are
some ideas to help you cope with any physical or
emotional symptoms you may be experiencing
  • Eat well-balanced and regular meals, even if you
    dont feel like it. Good nutrition is very
    important when you are feeling stressed.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Exercise regularly. It can help work off some
    physical stress symptoms, leaving you feeling
    calmer and better able to relax. If youre
    feeling lethargic, exercise can help energize you
    and clear your mind.
  • Avoid caffeine, especially if you are having
    trouble sleeping.
  • Avoid the use of drugs or alcohol, including
    prescription and over-the-counter drugs to numb
    the pain. It will only complicate or delay your
    recovery.
  • Structure your time and set priorities. Maintain
    your basic normal routine, but give yourself
    permission to skip the extras for a while.
  • Dont make any major life changes or decisions.
  • Do make as many small daily decisions as possible
    to reassert your sense of control.
  • Dont try to avoid or deny reoccurring thoughts
    or feelings about the incident. They are normal
    and will decrease over time.
  • Give yourself permission to feel rotten and to
    share your feelings with others.
  • Do things that you enjoy. Take mini-breaks go
    out to dinner, take 10 minutes alone, watch a
    movie.
  • Talk with people you trust your family, friends,
    co-workers. Dont be afraid to reach out.
    People do care.
  • Dont be afraid to set limits with others when
    you dont feel like talking. You dont have to
    discuss the incident or your feelings when you
    dont want to.
  • Dont label yourself as crazy. Remind yourself
    youre having normal reactions.
  • Write down your thoughts and feelings. This can
    be especially helpful if youre having trouble
    sleeping or when you wake from a troubling dream.
  • Ask for help if you need it. If you are having
    trouble coping on your own help is available from
    many sources
  • Professional assistance from a counselor may
    sometimes be necessary. This does not imply
    weakness or craziness. It simply indicates that
    the particular event was just too powerful to
    handle by yourself.
  • In the workplace you may be able to get
    assistance from your co-workers, the human
    resource department, or SEAP.
  • Church, friends, family, and other community
    resources can be valuable sources of support.

30
Training Evaluation for Preventing Workplace
Violence
Trainers Name ________________________
Date/Time ________________ Bureau/Agency
________________________ Location
__________________ Please circle your responses
and make comments or suggestions
below. Very Little Excellent Good Good V
alue Poor 1. What is your OVERALL opinion of
this course? 5 4 3 2 1 2. The course MATERIALS
were 5 4 3 2 1 3. The course ACTIVITIES
were 5 4 3 2 1 4. The instructors
PRESENTATIONof the information
was 5 4 3 2 1 5. The instructors KNOWLEDGE of
the the subject was 5 4 3 2 1 6. Would you
recommend this training to co-workers? YES NO
What did you feel was the most useful?
What did you feel was the least useful?
What changes would you recommend to improve this
training?
Comments, questions and concerns
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