Workplace Violence Myths

Workplace violence seems to be rampant in todays culture. If you were to watch mainstream news, you may feel like it is just a matter of time until your workplace is next. While the chances of violence happening in your workplace may be low, that doesn't mean that you should be ignorant or dismissive of it. Below are a few myths about violence in the workplace and why you may need to re-think how you approach safety in the workplace.

It can’t happen here

This myth gives you and your company a false sense of security. Sadly, violence can happen anywhere. This will cause employees and management to miss warning signs that could stop workplace violence before it begins. All employees and management should have awareness in creating and maintaining a safe environment.

Workplace violence just includes murder

While sensational media may make you believe that workplace violence means death and shootings, it is far from the truth. Workplace violence is defined by OHSA as the exercise or attempted exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker, or a statement or behavior that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker.

Potentially violent people can be ‘profiled’ and screened out.

This is wrong. A person who may commit violence in a workplace can be from any demographic. If you try to generalize or profile an employee, you could actually make your organization more susceptible to violence. It is better to watch out for behaviors of individuals instead of who they are.

Violent perpetrators just ‘snap’ with no warning

While it is possible for an incident to occur without warning, it is very rare. Most workplace violence will have recognizable warning signs. The behaviors could be threats, obsessions, statements of anger, conflict with co-workers, etc.

Only ‘crazy’ people commit workplace violence

Not true. First, only around 5% of mentally disturbed people are actually violent and most of those people are incarcerated or in a hospital.

Security guards and metal detectors keep us safe

Not true and dangerous to believe this. Workplace violence does not need an outside weapon or person to happen. Anything around your workplace could be used as a potential weapon. In fact, this could make the aggressor more creative in order to find a way to commit violence.

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