Establishing a Workplace Prevention Program

July 10, 2024
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Every employee deserves to go to work without fear of violence or harassment. While most companies have some form of training in place, it may not be enough to truly make a difference in the workplace culture or give individuals resources to stay safe. 

By implementing comprehensive workplace violence prevention training, organizations can create a proactive approach to safety, fostering a secure and supportive work environment for all employees. Continue reading to learn more about creating a prevention program. 

What’s Classified as Workplace Violence?

Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at a work site. The primary categories of workplace violence include:

  • Physical assault: This includes hitting, shoving, kicking or any other physical attack. It can also involve the use of weapons.
  • Threats: Verbal or written threats to harm someone. This can include phone calls, emails, social media messages or notes.
  • Harassment: Repeated unwanted attention that can be verbal, physical or psychological in nature. This includes bullying, stalking and other forms of intimidation.
  • Verbal abuse: Use of offensive, insulting or abusive language directed at another person. This can include shouting, swearing or other forms of demeaning speech.
  • Disruptive behavior: Actions that aren’t necessarily violent but cause significant disruption to the work environment. This includes yelling, throwing objects or otherwise creating a hostile environment. 

According to OSHA, a workplace violence incident can affect and involve employees, clients, customers and visitors and is the third-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States. 

Workplace Violence Prevention Training: What You Need To Know

Workplace violence training is essential for creating a safe and secure work environment. It’s aimed at educating employees about the potential risks of workplace violence, how to recognize warning signs and the steps they can take to prevent or respond to incidents. 

The primary objectives of such training programs include:

  • Awareness and recognition
  • Prevention strategies
  • Response protocols
  • Support and resources
  • Legal and ethical responsibilities
  • Cultural change

Here are some more in-depth topics the training should cover for the best employee experience and education:

Understanding Workplace Violence

This topic should cover the definition and scope of workplace violence, including its various forms. Participants should learn about the different types of violence — type I: criminal intent, type II: customer/client, type III: worker-on-worker and type IV: personal relationships. They should also understand that violence can occur between any involved parties, even external sources. 

Recognizing Warning Signs

Employees should be trained to recognize the early warning signs or potential violence, such as verbal threats, aggressive behavior or significant changes in behavior. This topic should also cover risk factors that may increase the likelihood of violence, such as stressful working conditions, inadequate security measures or personal issues that an employee may be facing. 

Preventative Measures

Prevention is key to minimizing workplace violence. This section should provide strategies for creating a safe and respectful work environment. Topics may include promoting a positive workplace culture, implementing effective communication practices and setting clear policies and procedures. Employees should also learn about environmental design changes that can reduce risks, such as improved lighting, secure entrances and surveillance systems. 

De-escalation Techniques

Include practical techniques to handle potentially violent situations. Employees should learn how to stay calm, communicate clearly and use non-confrontational body language. Techniques such as active listening, empathy and finding common ground can help diffuse tense situations before they escalate into a dangerous incident.

Response Procedures

Clear procedures for responding to incidents should be established and communicated. This includes immediate actions to take during a violent situation, such as calling for help, evacuating the area or using self-defense if necessary. Individuals should be familiar with your company’s emergency response plan such as roles and responsibilities, safe locations to evacuate to and how to contact emergency services. 

Post-incident Actions

Employees need to know the importance of reporting all incidents of violence, no matter how minor they may seem. Training should cover the process for reporting events, including whom to report to and how to document the incident accurately. You should emphasize creating a non-punitive reporting environment where employees feel safe and supported. 

Legal and Regulatory Requirements

Education should also touch on your team’s legal rights and responsibilities related to workplace violence, including relevant laws and regulations like the Occupational Safety and Health Act and state-specific workplace safety laws. Training programs may also discuss ethical considerations so individuals understand how to maintain confidentiality and respect the privacy of everyone involved. 

Creating a Culture of Safety and Respect

A proactive approach to preventing workplace violence involves fostering a culture of safety, respect and mutual support. Training should focus on the importance of creating an inclusive and supportive work environment where everyone feels valued and cared for. Encouraging open communication, teamwork and trust can significantly reduce the risk of violence and improve behavioral health. 

California’s SB 553 Law

While having a workplace violence prevention program or plan isn’t required in every state, it’s preferable to have one for the betterment of your team and organization as a whole. The most recent state to mandate prevention planning. 

On September 20, 2023, California passed a new law (SB 553 Law) requiring employers to take steps to prevent and respond to workplace violence. Notably, SB 553 requires covered employers to create comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans that must include:

  • The names or job titles of the individuals responsible for implementing and maintaining the workplace violence prevention plan.
  • Procedures to obtain the active involvement of employees in developing, implementing, and reviewing the workplace violence prevention plan, including their participation in identifying, evaluating, and correcting workplace violence hazards, designing and implementing training, and reporting and investigating workplace violence incidents. 
  • Methods the employer will use to coordinate the implementation of the workplace violation prevention plan among employees in the same facility or department.
  • Procedures for the employer to respond to workplace violence and to prohibit retaliation against employees who make reports of workplace violence.
  • Procedures for ensuring compliance with the workplace violence prevention plan. 
  • Procedures for communicating with employees regarding workplace violence matters.
  • Procedures for developing and providing training on the employer’s workplace violence prevention plan. 
  • Assessment procedures to identify and evaluate workplace violence hazards. 
  • Procedures for correcting workplace violence hazards promptly. 
  • Procedures for post-incident response and investigation.

These requirements were effective July 1, 2024, meaning all associated companies must now have this information ready and available for organization-wide use. 

Build Your Workplace Violence Prevention Program

Workplace violence prevention training can enhance safety, increase awareness, improve morale and increase compliance measures and preparedness. Video Training Power provides an all-access pass to up-to-date digital video training materials your team can access for easy classroom-style learning. 

We offer courses that go over the new California requirements as well as other helpful workplace violence topics like creating an effective prevention plan, helping employees who are victims of domestic violence, violence prevention for managers and how to respond during an active shooter. By using these interactive and engaging courses, you can better protect and educate your team for a safer and healthier workplace. 

Get started with Video Training Power today.