Prepare for Workplace Violence: Look for Warning Signs

Experts in workplace violence say that there are indeed indicators of potential violence. According to an article on, by Michelle Hicks, these clues to troubled behavior are oftentimes dismissed or overlooked before a violent event takes place.

Hicks asks, “How do you know if you’re ready to monitor and protect your employees or customers from a violent employee?”

Her answer: “First, assess what your organization has done to prepare. If the answer is ‘not much,’ then chances are this is an issue that requires your attention.”

The first step to preventing workplace violence is to develop policies and procedures that support company officials, including management, human resources and security, in responding to potential threats. The second step: Training your workforce so that they can pinpoint signs of trouble as well. According to experts, examples of troubled behavior include a history of getting angry or frustrated quickly, unstable performance or personal issues, and drug or alcohol abuse.

Consider creating a task force or threat assessment team in your organization that includes representatives from HR, security and legal. The force or team can help create procedures for addressing inappropriate behavior, as well as develop business continuity and emergency management plans.

While it’s sometimes hard for businesses to justify spending money to prepare for workplace violence, the alternative could be worse, including loss of life, disruptions on business, and even potential lawsuits from families.

“Businesses can’t afford to pretend they are immune. Educate your employees and managers on how to report suspicious behavior, and then prepare your HR and security staffs to respond and follow through,” Hicks concluded in her article.

For more information about why and how to prepare for workplace violence, visit: