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WORKPLACE VIOLENCE Prevention and Response


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Title: WORKPLACE VIOLENCE Prevention and Response

WORKPLACE VIOLENCEPrevention and Response
  • Based on the Handbook Workplace Violence
    Prevention and Response
  • By U. S. Department of Agriculture
  • October, 2001

What This Course Will Cover
  • What is Workplace Violence?
  • Responsibilities
  • Prevention of Workplace Violence
  • Identifying Potentially Violent Situations
  • Responding to Violent Incidents
  • Disclosure of Information

What is Workplace Violence?
  • Any act of violence, against persons or property,
    threats, intimidation, harassment, or other
    inappropriate, disruptive behavior that causes
    fear for personal safety at the work site.
  • Workplace violence can affect or involve
    employees, visitors, contractors, and other
    non-Federal employees.

What Can CauseWorkplace Violence?
  • Work Related
  • Anger over disciplinary actions
  • Loss of a job
  • Resistance to policies
  • Disagreement
  • Stress
  • Non-Work Related
  • Domestic violence
  • Road rage
  • Hate incidents or crime
  • Stress

Who Can Inflict Workplace Violence?
  • Abusive employee
  • Manager
  • Supervisor
  • Co-worker
  • Customer
  • Family member
  • Stranger

  • Whatever the cause or whoever the perpetrator,
    workplace violence is not to be accepted or

Employees Responsibilities
  • It is up to each employee to help make USDA a
    safe workplace for all of us
  • Be familiar with Department/Agency policy
  • Be responsible for securing their own workplace
  • Question and/or report strangers to supervisors
  • Be aware of any threats, physical or verbal,
    and/or any disruptive behavior

Employee Responsibilities cont.
  • Be familiar with local procedures for dealing
    with threats and emergencies
  • Do not confront individuals who are a threat
  • Be familiar with the resources of the Employee
    Assistance Program
  • Take all threats seriously

Supervisors Responsibilities
  • Inform employees of Department policies and
  • Ensure that employees know specific procedures
    for dealing with threats and emergencies, and how
    to contact police, fire, and other safety and
    security officials.
  • Ensure that employees with special needs are
    aware of emergency evacuation procedures and have

Supervisors Responsibilities Cont.
  • Respond to potential threats and escalating
    situations by utilizing proper resources from
    law enforcement, medical services, Federal
    Protective Service, human resources staff, and
    the Employee Assistance Program
  • Take all threats seriously
  • Check prospective employees backgrounds prior to

Security/Facilities StaffResponsibilities
  • Serve as the liaison with law enforcement
  • Conduct regular threat assessment surveys of the
  • Keep management advised of the risk of violence,
    and the means to close security gaps
  • Work with facility personnel to improve the
    security level of the buildings, grounds, parking
    lots, etc.

Prevention ofWorkplace Violence
  • A sound prevention plan is the most important
    and, in the long run, the least costly portion of
    any agencys workplace violence program. The
    following programs will assist in prevention
  • Pre-Employment Screening
  • Security
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
  • Threat Assessment Team
  • Agency Work and Family Life Programs

Pre-Employment Screening
  • An agency should determine, with the
    assistance of its servicing personnel and legal
    offices, the pre-employment screening techniques.
    Techniques may include
  • Interview questions
  • Background and reference checks
  • Drug testing (if appropriate for the position
    under consideration and consistent with Federal
    laws and regulations).

  • Maintaining a safe work place is part of any
    good prevention program. There are a variety of
    ways to help ensure safety. Some security
    measures include
  • Employee photo identification badges
  • Guard services
  • Individual coded key cards for access to
    buildings and grounds

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
  • This program is most effective in resolving
    disputes when a conflict has been identified
    early and one of the following techniques is
  • Ombudspersons
  • Facilitation
  • Mediation
  • Interest-based problem solving
  • Peer review

Threat Assessment Team
  • This interdisciplinary team will work with
    management to assess the potential for workplace
    violence and, as appropriate, develop and execute
    a plan to address it.

Agency Work and Family Life Programs
  • An agency should identify and modify, if
    possible, self-imposed policies and procedures
    which cause negative effects on the workplace
    climate. Examples include
  • Flexi-place
  • Child care
  • Maxi-flex

  • One of the most critical components of any
    agencys prevention program is training.
  • All employees should know how to recognize
    and report incidents of violent, intimidating,
    threatening, and disruptive behavior.
  • All employees should have phone numbers for
    quick reference during a crisis or an emergency.

  • In addition, workplace violence prevention
    training for employees should include the
    following topics
  • Agencys workplace violence policy
  • Encouragement to report incidents procedures to
    do so.
  • Ways of preventing or defusing volatile
    situations or aggressive behavior.
  • Diversity training to promote understanding
    acceptance of co-workers and customers from
    different races, sexes, religions, abilities,
    ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientations.

  • Ways to deal with hostile persons.
  • Managing anger.
  • Techniques and skills to resolve conflicts.
  • Stress management, relaxation techniques,
    wellness training.
  • Security procedures such as location and
    operation of safety devices such as alarm
  • Personal security measures.
  • Programs operating within the agency that can
    assist employees in resolving conflicts such as
    EAP ADR.

  • In addition to the training suggested for
    employees, special attention should be paid to
    general supervisory training. It is important
    that supervisory training include basic
    leadership skills such as
  • Setting clear standards
  • Addressing employee problems promptly.
  • Using the probationary period, performance
    counseling, discipline, and other management
    tools conscientiously.

  • Other areas that should be included in
    supervisory training are
  • Ways to encourage employees to report incidents.
  • Skills in behaving compassionately and
  • Skills in taking disciplinary actions.
  • Basic skills in handling crisis situations.
  • Basic emergency procedures.
  • Appropriate screening of pre-employment
  • Basic skills in conflict resolution.

Threat Assessment
  • Determining the seriousness of a potentially
    violent or stressful situation and how to best
    intervene is the basis of a threat assessment.
  • The agency should always treat threats in a
    serious manner and act as though the person may
    carry out the threat.
  • The purpose of the threat assessment team is
    to provide guidance on managing the situation in
    a way that protects the employees.

Threat Assessment Team Members
  • Typically include
  • Management
  • Employee Relations
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Law Enforcement, and/or Security
  • May also include representatives from
  • Civil Rights/EEO
  • Safety and Health Management Office
  • Unions, where applicable
  • Office of the General Counsel
  • Office of Inspector General
  • Conflict Resolution Office

Emergency Plans
  • The plan should be specific to the type of
    facility, building, and the workers it covers,
    and should describe
  • Calling for help
  • Calling for medical assistance
  • Emergency escape procedures routes
  • Safe places to escape
  • Accounting for all employees when evacuating
  • Procedures to secure the work area where the
    incident took place
  • Procedures for accounting for all employees
  • Training educating employees
  • Procedures for regularly evaluating updating
  • Procedures for debriefing participants

Alternative Dispute Resolution(ADR)
  • Designed to help parties resolve conflicts with a
    neutral third party.
  • Some ADR processes include facilitation,
    conciliation, mediation, and ombudsperson

  • Trained in listening and communicating
  • Can defuse tensions, and clear up
  • Creates a safe setting for open communication
  • Provides for improved relations and
    communications for the future

  • Eyes and ears of the highest level of an
  • Listens, investigates, and recommends solutions
    to problems
  • Listens to complaints or grievances about the

Considerations for Using ADR
  • Parties are so committed to their views that
    progress is stuck
  • Communication styles between disputing parties
    require third-party assistance
  • You want to resolve a dispute but do not want to
    file a formal complaint
  • You want to resolve your conflict quickly

  • ADR may not be appropriate when the parties are
    so hostile toward each other that sitting down
    together might be unsafe.

Employee Assistance Program(EAP)
  • Each agency has a confidential EAP with trained
    counselors who can address workplace stress and
    violence issues.
  • EAP is also required to help employees deal with
    alcoholism or drug abuse and other problems, such
    as, marital or financial.

Identifying PotentiallyViolent Signs
  • Intimidating
  • Harassing
  • Bullying
  • Numerous conflicts with customers, co-workers, or
  • Substance abuse
  • Statements contemplating suicide
  • Belligerent
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Carrying a weapon
  • Inappropriate references to guns or threats
  • Extreme changes in normal behaviors

If you notice violent signs,you should
  • If you are a co-worker notify the employees
  • If it is a customer notify your supervisor
  • If it is your subordinate evaluate the situation
    by taking into consideration what may be causing
    the problems
  • If it is your supervisor notify that persons

External Threats
  • Employees should be aware of external threats
    from organizations or the public. The following
    are some types of external threats
  • Domestic Terrorist Groups
  • Special Interest Groups
  • General Public
  • Permittees/Contractors

  • It is very important to respond appropriately,
    i.e., not to overreact but also not to ignore a

Responding to Violent Incidents
  • Occupant Emergency Plan
  • Emergency Response Team
  • Plans and Procedures for Recovering From a
    Workplace Violence Emergency
  • Evaluation

Occupant Emergency Plan
  • Refer to the phone numbers of security, police,
    and medical service in your facility occupant
    emergency plan
  • If you do not have a copy of the plan for your
    facility contact your supervisor

Emergency Response Team
  • Their purpose is to deal with the actual violent
    situation and its aftermath as well as to take
    steps to prevent similar future occurrences.

Plans and Proceduresfor Recovering
  • Agencies must be prepared to
  • Deal with the situation
  • Help in the healing process
  • Get the workforce back to productivity
  • Employees experience three stages of crisis

Stage OneEmotional Reactions
  • Shock
  • Disbelief
  • Denial
  • Numbness
  • Increasing heart rate
  • Perceptual senses become heightened or distorted
  • Adrenaline levels increase

Stage TwoImpact stage
  • Anger
  • Rage
  • Fear
  • Terror
  • Depression
  • Withdrawal
  • Grief
  • Sorrow
  • Confusion
  • Helplessness
  • Guilt

Stage ThreeReconciliation stage
  • Employee tried to make sense out of the event
  • Understand its impact
  • Through trial and error, reach closure of the
    event so it doesnt interfere with his or her
    ability to function and grow
  • Long-term process

  • Determine if everything was done that could have
    been done
  • What can be done to prevent it from happening
  • Threat assessment and emergency response teams
    should be part of this process.

Disclosure of Information
  • Threat Assessment Team
  • Critical Incident Stress Debriefing
  • Dealing With the Media

Threat Assessment Team
  • Information will be released to individuals
    needing the information in order to conduct an
    appropriate investigation into the situation,
    protect agency personnel, or confront the person
    making the threat.

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing
  • This type of debriefing allows the employees a
    chance to
  • Recover from severe stress
  • Talk about what they have gone through
  • Compare their reactions with those of others.

Dealing With the Media
  • Questions from the news media relating to
    incidents of workplace violence should be
    forwarded to the appropriate public affairs staff
    for your office.

  • For additional information regarding
    preventing workplace violence, please review REE
    Policy Procedure 122.1 found at the following
  • http//

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