The majority of individuals associate violence with physical attack. However, there is a much larger issue with violence and harassment in the workplace. It refers to any incident in which an individual is mistreated, threatened, intimidated, or assaulted while working. Workplace violence can take many different forms, including rumors, swearing, verbal abuse, harassment, pranks, disagreements, property damage, vandalism, sabotage, shoving, theft, physical attacks, psychological trauma, anger-related incidents, rape, arson, and murder. NOTE: In this publication, bullying and harassment are also considered forms of violence. For more details, kindly consult the following OSH Answers documents: Occupational Bullying Internet abuse or harassment Workplace Violence and Harassment Workplace Violence and Harassment the family (Domestic) Violence Workplace Violence and Harassment - Lawmaking Dealing with Negative Interactions in the Face of Workplace Violence and Harassment Workplace Violence and Harassment Safety in Parking Lots Workplace Violence and Harassment: Warning Signs Working Late: Violence and Harassment in the Workplace
When studying warning signs, what should I keep in mind the most?
You must keep in mind that it can be challenging to predict when someone will be aggressive. Although not everyone will exhibit the aforementioned behaviors and physical indicators, they might act as red flags that a situation may escalate into violence. Always consider these actions ""in context"". Watch out for several warning indications as well as escalation signals (the behaviours are getting worse). Take action if a person exhibits any or all of the aforementioned traits and you are concerned about them. Inform your supervisor or the human resources division of your issue.
What are the telltale indicators of a problematic individual or worker?
By recognizing the warning signals and making an effort to stop minor occurrences, violence can be avoided far more easily than when dealing with the fallout from a major catastrophe. It is crucial to realize that while the following behaviors may suggest that someone is under a lot of stress, they do not necessarily guarantee the someone will turn violent. Since every scenario is different, it may be necessary to use professional judgment or outside aid to decide whether intervention is required. Always keep a close eye out for: A change in their usual behavior. The behaviors are disruptive to the workplace because of their frequency and intensity. Instead of just a few, the person is showing numerous of these behaviors. Crying, pouting, or tantrums are examples of warning signs. excessive tardiness or absences. exceeding the bounds of acceptable behavior or failing to consider the health and safety of others disregard for the law. increased errors or blunders, or subpar job quality. refusal to admit issues with work performance. incorrect decision-making. Seeing what they can get away with while pushing the boundaries. swearing or strongly worded sentences. inadequately handles criticism. making remarks that are unacceptable. forgetfulness, perplexity, or diversion unable to concentrate Accusing others of wrongdoing. complaints of unjust treatment on a personal level. discussing the same issues continuously without finding a solution. adamantness that they are always correct. misunderstanding of verbal cues from superiors or coworkers. social exclusion unclean personal habits. Unexpected or sudden change in energy level. complaints of strange or general ailments. holds grudges, particularly towards their boss. expresses their want for the person they hold a grudge against to suffer a bad outcome.
Are there any outward indications that someone might behave out?
In some cases, what matters most is what a person's body does rather than what they say. If you encounter someone displaying one or more of the following ""non-verbal"" indicators or body language, proceed with caution. A flushed or lonesome face Sweating. Pacing, fidgeting, or routine motions. severe signs of weariness (e.g., dark circles under the eyes). shaking or trembling jaws or fists closed. violent or obscene gestures Variation in voice. talking or chanting aloud. fast, shallow breathing Sneering, scowling, or using foul language. or avoiding making eye contact. disregarding one's personal space (they get too close).
What are other warning signs?
In some cases, there has been a clear pattern of warning signs before a violent incident. When you can, take note of: History of violence Fascinated with incidents of workplace violence. Shows an extreme interest in, or obsession with, weapons. Demonstrated violence towards inanimate objects. Evidence of earlier violent behaviour. Threatening behaviour States intention to hurt someone (can be verbal or written). Holds grudges. Excessive behaviour (e.g. phone calls, gift giving). Escalating threats that appears well-planned. Preoccupation with violence. Intimidating behaviour Argumentative or uncooperative. Displays unwarranted anger. Impulsive or easily frustrated. Challenges peers and authority figures. Increase in personal stress An unreciprocated romantic obsession. Serious family or financial problems. Recent job loss or personal loss. Negative personality characteristics Suspicious of others. Believes they are entitled to something. Cannot take criticism. Feels victimized. Shows a lack of concern for the safety or well-being of others. Blames others for their problems or mistakes. Low self-esteem. Marked changes in mood or behaviour Extreme or bizarre behaviour. Irrational beliefs and ideas. Appears depressed or expresses hopelessness or heightened anxiety. Marked decline in work performance. Demonstrates a drastic change in belief systems. Socially isolated History of negative interpersonal relationships. Few family or friends. Sees the company as a """"family"""". Has an obsessive involvement with their job. Abuses substances, such as drugs or alcohol
What can I do if I am concerned?
Take action, especially if you feel your safety or the safety of others is threatened. Follow your workplace’s policy and procedures for responding to violence and harassment, including reporting by witnesses. If you are a worker, you can also report your concerns to your supervisor, human resources department, or the person designated by your organization. You can also get advice from your employee assistance program (EAP) if you have one."""