Violence in the Workplace

How to Create a Safe Workplace

Some questions you can ask yourself are:
  • Is it a serious problem?
  • What can be done to prevent workplace violence?
  • What are the warning signs?
  • What are the costs to your and your employer?
  • Who do you contact?

Types of Violence

There are 5 categories of workplace violence, each having its own unique set of motivating factors:
  • Domestic and misdirected affection cases
  • Employer-directed violence
  • Robbery and other commercial crimes
  • Situations involving law enforcement or security officers
  • Terrorism or hate crimes


According to the Department of Justice, 1 in 6 violent crimes occur in the workplace. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, murder is the leading cause of death for women on the job, more than from any other source of occupational injury. In 1992, workplace homicides were the leading cause of job-related deaths.


The best deterrent to workplace violence is to conduct adequate screening and not hire employees with a history of violent behavior. Employers should establish a zero tolerance policy for threatening or engaging in violent behavior, providing for employee disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. Supervisors and employees should be trained to look for "red flags" or warning signs identifying emotionally upset workers.

An employee assistance program should be provided for counseling and referral. A crisis management or threat assessment team should be developed to evaluate incidents and provide a mechanism for employees to report threatening situations. Access control should be exercised to limit the traffic flow and the number of non-employees in the workplace. A violence reaction plan should be developed that includes emergency aid and post-incident response measures.

Warning Signs

Adopting new policies or changes to existing policies can cause overreaction by employees. This can be a warning sign to potential violence in the workplace.

If you are interested in a program, please contact Captain William Hamby at 704-924-4035 or email