The amount of workplace violence in Alaska is staggering. According to Business Insider, Alaska has one of the highest violent crime rates in the United States. The national average is 386.9 violent crimes per every 100,000 people. Alaska’s average 603.2 violent crimes per every 100,000 people, nearly double the national average. Many sources state that there is little to no law enforcement in Alaska, especially in the rural areas. There are times that it could take upwards of a day to have a police officer respond to a call.
Among other things, workplace violence adds to the violent crime average. Workplace violence does not always involve disgruntled workers. As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the assailant has no known relationship to the victims in two-thirds of workplace homicides. Additionally, many people who commit workplace violence have something else going on in their lives such as mental illness, drug abuse, divorce or what they may believe is a failure.
What are Some of the Indicators and Risk Factors for Workplace Violence?
There are several signs and risk factors for workplace violence. If employers and employees pay close attention to the warning signs and risk factors, workplace violence could potentially be prevented from happening in the first place.
Not all workplace violence is committed by a disgruntled employee. The following risk factors reflect risks for workplace violence perpetrated by an outside assailant who is not an employee:
Risk Factors for Workplace Violence from an Outside Assailant
- Working alone or in an isolated area
- Where alcohol is served
- Working late at night
- Working in high crime rate areas
- An environment where money is exchanged with the public
As a whole, there are also risk factors for workplace violence committed by disgruntled employees and outside assailants:
Indicators for Workplace Violence as a Whole
- Verbal threats to other employees
- Displaying paranoia
- A fascination with violence
- Bizarre behaviors
- Being unreasonable
- Irresponsible actions
- A vindictive nature
- Chronic depression
- Substance / Alcohol Abuse
- Changes in performance
Three Surprising Acts of Workplace Violence in Alaska
The threat of violence in the workplace is real. Moreover, these statistics validate the reality that violence in the workplace is often a deadly incident that can happen to any business.
- April 22. 2017 – Devon Brown, 18, of West Anchorage, shot and injured an employee of the Carrs Safeway supermarket. The employee had previously tried to keep the assailant and other teenage group members out of the store after the group entered the store and proceeded to trash the aisles.
- July 12, 2016 – An unnamed assailant in Anchorage first attempted to assault a Home Depot employee before flinging stolen hatchets and axes at police. Police shot the attacker during the attack. The attacker later died. No one else was hurt.
- April 7, 2009 – Donald Lee, 22, of Wasilla, opened fire at a group of people outside the Tailgaters Sports Bar and Grill. Reports say that the assailant and another group of customers at the bar argued, after which the attacker left the pub and got a gun from his vehicle.
How to Avoid Workplace Violence
Proper planning and training can significantly reduce the injuries and victimization caused by workplace violence. Security, whether it is staff or just general procedures, should be taken extremely seriously. Several safety measures that can help reduce victimization include an incident response plan, panic button system, and surveillance cameras.
The first minute of a workplace violence incident is the most critical moment of a company’s emergency response. Simple steps, such as knowing where building exits are located, can help boost survival in the case of workplace violence.
There is no one failsafe way to prevent instances of violence in the workplace. However, technologies offered by CRS Notify can lessen the chances of victimization. CRS Notify panic buttons can notify authorities in an instant with E911 integration. Additionally, those who are set to receive alerts can know what is happening and plan accordingly.
In conclusion, it is important for staff to become familiar with violence prevention and incident response plans within the facility. Without these kinds of policies in place, staff may not know how to act in the face of an emergency. When certain policies are enacted, employees can be more confident in their reactions. It is always smart to trust intuition when something just doesn’t seem right. Suspicious behavior should always be reported. Remember: informed employees can help keep workplace violence and the repercussions of workplace violence down to a minimum.
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