Unfortunately, workplace violence is something all American workers have to be prepared for these days. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were a total of 172 fatal workplace injuries reported in the state of Illinois in 2015. Of this number 27 were caused by violence. Moreover, this amounts to just over 15% of all fatal workplace injuries. This statistic is staggering considering that some workplace violence comes with warning signs.
Among other things, workplace violence adds to the violent crime average. Workplace violence does not always involve disgruntled employees. As declared 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 Violence in the Workplace?
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.
Little known fact: workplace violence is not always 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 violence in workplace 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
Five Surprising Acts of Workplace Violence in Illinois
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.
- May 17, 2014 – An unnamed assailant opened fire at Fifteenth-Hoyt Liquor Store in Muncie during an attempted robbery. Reports state that one person was shot and injured, but authorities are unsure if the victim was the robber or a customer in the store.
- September 3, 2016 – An unnamed assailant robbed Back of the Yards, a neighborhood store in Chicago. One person was shot.
- January 25, 2017 – Several unnamed assailants opened fire at a memorial at a Chicago restaurant. Several people, including minor children, were injured in the shooting. The restaurant and names of the assailants were not reported.
- April 15, 2017 – Seth Thomas Wallace, 32, opened fire at The Cooler, a bar in Rock Falls. Four people were injured, including the owner of the bar, a distant cousin of the assailant.
- March 19, 2017 – Alen Huren, 26, of Des Plaines, opened fire at the Chaser’s Bar and Grill parking lot. One person was injured.
How to Avoid Workplace Violence
Proper planning and training can significantly reduce the injuries and victimization caused by workplace violence. Furthermore, 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 workplace violence. 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.
Finally, it is essential for staff to become familiar with violence prevention and incident response plans within the facility. Furthermore, 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. In addition, 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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