Workplace Violence Toolbox Talk

Learn about workplace violence, what causes it, and how to deal with it.

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Workplace Violence Safety Talk

Workplace violence is a real problem that needs to be talked about more often. Right now, violence in the workplace ranks fourth in the leading causes of death while on the job. There were 500 deaths while on the job reported in 2016. These were all due to homicides.

OSHA has records of all these instances that have occurred. Over 2 million people every year have reported that they have been the victim of violence. Violence in the workplace is not okay and needs addressing right away.

Types of Workplace Violence

There are many different forms of workplace violence that can go on. Any type is not permitted and should not go under the radar. Some examples of different ways that this can occur are in detail below.

Physical Aggression

Physical aggression is an act of someone hurting you physically. This act causes disruption in your work and can take a toll on you emotionally. You can also consider a threat made about harming you in some way an act of physical aggression. Report any of these instances to your supervisor right away.

Act of Violence

There are many different ways that an employee can experience violence. Any type of violence that you experience from a co-worker or superior needs reported. Some different examples of violent acts in the workplace are:

  • Sexual
  • Neglect
  • Phycological
  • Physical
  • The violence may be geared towards you or someone else. You need to report it to your supervisor either way. These acts are not okay to be going on in a workplace.


    Intimidating employees is not okay and needs to be reported. It can be a form of harassment depending on the matter that is at hand. Some forms of intimidations that have been reported are:

  • Emotional
  • Sexual
  • Physical
  • Verbal
  • Degrading
  • Glowering
  • Do not allow other workers to intimidate you about your job. If you are in a situation that you are being intimidated, make it known to your supervisor.


    This is a form of violence in the workplace that is not tolerated. A threat that is made between coworkers needs to be reported. If a coworker has made a threat that is about physical harm to you or your property, don’t be silent.

    Disruptive Behavior

    When you are at work, you are there to complete a job. Behavior should be on point and focused on what you are there for. Disruptive behavior is distracting and inappropriate in the workplace.

    Factors That Can Contribute

    The factors that go into someone experiencing workplace violence have been narrowed down. To see who is most at risk for this happening. There are many different things that could be contributing to it. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Where there are high columns of money
  • Delivery drivers
  • EMS
  • Healthcare worker
  • Police officer
  • Customer service representatives
  • It is unfortunate that this is the case for many people. Most of these jobs are centered around helping other people. The time of day in which you work is going to play a higher role in the likelihood of something happening as well. Some other considerations are the location of your business and if you are alone.

    Responsibility of The Employer

    Employers are the ones in charge of making a safe environment for their employees. Although, there are some things that are out of their control. Businesses should have a zero-tolerance rule in place for these types of instances. There are times when you may be alone or out of view, that is why it is so important to report incidents right away.

    If there is an incident of a threat or aggression being shown. The situation needs to be addressed right away. As the worker, if you ever feel upset or concerned about a situation, go to your supervisor. Let them help you to resolve the problem at hand.

    How to Address Workplace Violence

    It is unfortunate that workplace violence has to be a reality for anyone. If you have found yourself in this situation, you may be trying to decide how to address the situation. Here are a few ways that may help you:

  • Try to stay calm with the person to avoid making the situation worse.
  • Don’t argue with them, it will only escalate the problem.
  • Do not argue with threats that are made, report them to your supervisor.
  • Try to diffuse the situation and leave.
  • If you feel the person is going to hurt you, yell to get someone's attention.
  • What You Should Do

    It is important to talk with your supervisor if you have experienced violence at work. You may be asked to give a written statement about the situation. This will help to keep the story straight and have something in writing to document it.

    From there, your employer will address the situation with the other person. The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires your employer to provide you with a safe environment to work in. It may not be their responsibility that it happened, but they will help to fix the problem.

    What Violence Does to People

    If you are the victim of workplace violence, it can make you very uncomfortable. There are many emotions that you may experience after the incident occurs. Some traits that are present in someone who experienced workplace violence are:

  • Trouble focusing at work
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling insecure
  • Things to Remember

    When you are the victim of workplace violence, it can be tempting to retaliate. That is not always the best decision. Try not to fight back and be confrontational. Diffuse the issue as much as possible and report to your supervisor.

    There are times that you may feel that your problem is not taken seriously. If that has happened, take the problem to the person higher up than the supervisor. When a situation is addressed in the early stages, it is oftentimes much easier to control.

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