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Harassment To Violence

Workplace harassment must be identified, discouraged and prevented in order to keep hostility in the work environment from developing. Left unchecked, harassment can turn easily into violence. Workplace violence and harassment training are essential to the safety of all employees.

Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behaviors that happens at work. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide. It can affect and involve employees, clients, customers and visitors. Working alone or in isolated areas may contribute to the potential for violence. Providing services and care, and working where alcohol is served may also impact the likelihood of violence. Additionally, the time of day and location of work place, such as working late at night or in areas with high crime rates.

There are also risk factors that should be considered when addressing issues of workplace violence. Among those with higher-risk are workers who exchange money with the public, delivery drivers, healthcare professionals, public service workers, customer service agents, law enforcement personnel, and those who work alone or in small groups. When there is workplace violence there are usually some signs. There are three levels of workplace violence; the first one is verbal bullying. This is where they are disrespectful, uncooperative and intimidated. The second level is where they threaten coworkers, take anger out on customers and cannot be restrained. The third level is when it gets physical. Fighting and breaking things are usually what it occurs. While they are often preventable, it is still difficult to determine whether or not any particular workplace situation is potentially violent.

This is an emotional and complex topic, and decisions about what to do in certain situations are not always straightforward or made in a clearheaded state of mind. In many cases, employees ignore warning signs because they believe they are not important. In other situations, employees react based on fear and what they believe is the profile of a potentially violent person, not necessarily observed actual behavior. Another major hindrance is they do not know where to go to get help in making decisions regarding real and potential risks.  If work place violence is happening please report it to either HR or to the Department of labor. In worst case scenarios or before the situation gets out of hand, call the police

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