Workplace Violence – Preventative Methodology to Include Employee Accountability In the Maintenance of Safety in the Workplace Environment

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Proposed Introduction

Upon employment in any given field, occupational risks and hazards are accepted exposures; although, they are deemed unlikely and improbable. Employers are obliged to provide safe and healthy workplace environments to benefit both employees and customers that frequent the workspace. However, WPV (violence as defined by indirect or direct written or verbal communication that is threatening or coercive, the use of, or threat to use, physical force which includes vandalism and stalking, the use, or possession, or threat of use of any weaponry) has a staggering number of incidences across employment fields. Though all employers are legally required to provide guidelines for WPV prevention, investigation, and reporting, there is an evidentiary disconnect in the workplace environment that permits the emergence of violent behavior. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2 million people each year were victims of violent crime or threatened by violent crime in the workplace. Among the 2 million violent acts, 1.5 million were simple assaults, 396,000 aggravated assaults, 84,000 robberies, and 51,000 rapes and sexual assaults (Gary, Myers, & Myers., 1999, p. 5). “In addition, as many as 16 million incidents of verbal aggression are estimated to occur in the workplace every year” (Anfuso, 1994). Take lateral violence in the nursing profession, for example. Even more prevalent is the occurrence of workplace aggression in which there is effort by individuals to harm others who they work, or have worked, with. This is the leading contributor to the escalation of WPV, which is extremely harmful to the individual and catastrophic to the inter-workings of the organization. In whichever facet WPV manifests, it is a growing concern for employers and employees alike.

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References

Gray, G. R., Myers, D. W., & Myers, P. S. (1999). Workplace violence provisions in private sector collective bargaining agreements. Washington, D.C. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Anfuso, D. (1994). Workplace violence. The Personnel Journal, 73, 66–77.