Keeping workplace tensions from turning deadly

While many of us consider the workplace a safe haven in a sometimes uncertain world, the reality is that violence can strike at any time, anywhere. Consider the recent tragic death of Yale graduate student Annie Le by an animal lab technician at a medical research building where they both worked. A senseless crime possibly motivated by an earlier dispute between the colleagues.

From the msnbc article:
“Since 2008 there has been a rise in workplace violence due to increasing pressure in the workplace,” said Sara Begley with Reed Smith, a law firm representing employers. “Drastic reductions in force, fewer people to perform same workload, no bonuses, economic downturn, lost 401(k) accounts. While workplace homicides have declined, assault, threats, bullying, cyberbullying and sexual harassment and stalking have increased.”

Combine these pressures with certain high-risk occupations and you have a recipe for disaster. Especially vulnerable are occupations that involve exchanging money with the public, delivering goods and passengers (like taxi drivers), or working alone or late at night (like nurses).

But regardless of occupation, the bottom line is that any workplace can become the scene of violence at the hands of a disgruntled or unstable employee. That’s why every employer needs to be proactive and train employees on how to spot early warning signs and report potential problems. The importance of prevention through proper education and training cannot be overemphasized! The Workplace Violence Kit provides comprehensive training and helpful support materials (like reinforcement quizzes and posters) to keep your workplace safe and out of the headlines.

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