The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2014 that 15,980 people had experienced traumas related to workplace violence, and of the 4,679 workplace deaths that same year, about 12% were the result of homicide. Though these may be small numbers relative to the number of total people in the workforce, workplace violence is sadly not uncommon.
Though we may not have control over the handful of people who get physically aggressive, we all play a part in preventing hostile situations and fostering a civil culture in our workplace. That’s why a key component of any workplace online training curriculum should always be an eLearning course on prevention of workplace violence.
Any course on workplace violence should be written and designed with three main goals in mind:
Learners can define workplace violence
People come from a myriad of different backgrounds, learning many different philosophies and sharing many different ideas. So whenever you wish to change hearts and minds, it helps to get on the same page and define your terms. In this case, that means coming to an agreement on what constitutes workplace violence. Some people were raised in a home where roughhousing and sarcasm were commonplace, while others were taught to keep their hands and unkind words to themselves, while most of us lie somewhere in the middle.
In the workplace, it’s important to follow ethical and legal standards, not only for good business, but to keep you and your employees safe. Therefore, in the US, you should defer legal definitions of this kind to governing bodies like OSHA, which defines workplace violence as:
Any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.
With this definition given, you are ready to proceed to the next course goal.
Learners know methods of preventing workplace violence
There are many ways to promote a peaceful and civil work environment, but here are a couple of big methods to be aware of.
- Communication: Those in leadership roles should communicate company policy regarding what constitutes violence and what the consequences of such actions are. Employees should feel comfortable to bring their concerns to superiors and trust they will be resolved.
- Awareness: By establishing a culture where each member of the organization is monitoring themselves and the actions of those around them, smaller issues and conflicts can be identified and dealt with sooner before they escalate into a possibly violent situation.
Learners can identify warning signs of potential incidents
To deescalate a tense situation, you need to recognize it when it happens. If you notice a more-than-casual amount of conflict coming from one or more people, pay attention to some key elements of their body language. The following, noted by the Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety, are more indicative of a possibly violent situation if several appear at once with the same person:
- Flushed or pale face.
- Pacing, restless, or repetitive movements.
- Signs of extreme fatigue (e.g., dark circles under the eyes).
- Trembling or shaking.
- Clenched jaws or fists.
- Exaggerated or violent gestures.
- Change in voice.
- Loud talking or chanting.
- Shallow, rapid breathing.
- Scowling, sneering or use of abusive language.
- Glaring or avoiding eye contact.
- Violating your personal space (they get too close).
Covering these key areas can go a long way towards preventing violence in your workplace. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments how you would use eLearning to prevent workplace violence. If you’re looking for help creating the best eLearning courses to aid your workforce, contact us to learn more about our custom solutions or Customizable Courseware.