workplace violence program

Is a Workplace Violence Program Right for Your Organization?

Importance of a Comprehensive Workplace Violence Program

The U.S. Department of Labor has created and implemented a comprehensive workplace violence program for federal agencies. The instructions and the program as presented to federal agencies stresses that there is no flawless workplace violence program, but having one is critically important.

It isn’t just the staff and employees that are affected by workplace violence. Their families and friends will almost always have to deal with the trauma experie]nced by the employee. Of course, injury or death are the worst consequences, but there are other workplace violence effects for personnel and the organization, including:

  • productivity problems
  • higher personnel costs
  • property damage
  • theft
  • sabotage
  • absence, permanent or temporary, of skilled employees
  • increased security and personnel costs
  • dilution of regular management focus

These effects of workplace violence can impact organizational performance for far longer than would have been necessary if a comprehensive workplace violence program had been in place.

Purpose and Policies


The purpose of formation of a comprehensive workplace violence program is to mitigate violent incidents of all types in the workplace. Urgency is indicated by data from the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics Joint Study on Workplace Violence. Though this data is from 2019, it is accepted by most agencies workplace violence has been escalating annually. Data includes:

  • From 1992 to 2019, nearly 18,000 people were killed in workplace related violence, while on duty, or while at work.
  • From 2015 to 2019, an average of approximately 1.3 million non-fatal workplace violence incidents where documented annually including incidents of:
    • simple assault
    • rape
    • aggravated assault
    • robbery
    • sexual assault
  • Strangers committed 47% of non-violent workplace violence incidents 2015-2019.
  • 2015-2019, approximately 529,000 non-fatal injuries were treated in hospital emergency facilities.

There is more data at the link, but this should illustrate the purpose of development of an effective workplace violence program.


Workplace violence policy documents are developed to instruct employees in the importance of the program, and to provide them instruction in their implementation. The policy documents will clearly explain the importance of the workplace violence program, management commitment, roles and responsibilities of those involved, and measurement and reporting of ongoing results.

Workplace Violence Program Roles and Responsibilities

The overall purpose of a program is to set out procedures to reduce or totally prevent workplace violence incidents. Management and all employees should be presented with procedures to implement with that goal in mind. In doing so, roles and responsiblities for implentation are set out, and regularly scheduled monitoring and effectiveness reporting put into place. As regarding roles and responsibilities, employees must treat fellow employees, clients, and customers with dignity and respect. There are numerous roles that can be involved and called upon to implement the workplace violence program, including:

Supervisors and Managers

First, all of the below Employee responsibilities apply to supervisors and managers. Tasked with understanding the program and procedures managment and supervisors must communicate effectively with lower level employees as to their roles and responsibilities. Management must take seriously all reports of workplace violence seriously and take appropriate action according to the program procedures. They should also supervise the investigation of all violent acts or threats and taking the appropriate action with regards to those involved. Report to and provide feedback to higher and lower level staff up and down the organization’s employment chain. Supervisors and managers should assure adequate training for all involved and encourage reporting evidence of threats or possible violence in the workplace.


The primary responsibility of employees is to understand the workplace violence program’s goals and to be responsible for their own attitudes, actions, and responsibilities. They should promptly report threats or incidents. Follow instructions from and cooperate fully with management and supervisors in program implementation and reporting.

Security Personnel

Security personnel, employees or contracted, implement the workplace violence program security protocols, supervise their use, and report to management the results on a regular basis. They must maintain ongoing monitoring of possible threats and work with stakeholders to modify or improve the workplace violence procedures accordingly. Coordinate with local authorities and law enforcement agencies and make arrests when legal and appropriate.

Health and Safety Personnel

Health and safety persnnel will consult with other management in the design of workplace violence program activities related to the health and welfare of employees covered by health and safety. They will also work with security personnel when appropriate to align security activities and programs with safety and health programs and policies.

Union Representatives

If unionized, employee union representatives with consult and work with management to coordinate workplace violence program procedures with union responsibilities and procedures. The union should work with management in helping to train employees in workplace violence risks and threats, in how to report incidents.

Workplace Violence Examples and Warning Indicators

Workplace violence incidents can involve employees, customers, others outside the workplace, or any combination of these people. Indicators that signal possible or probable risk of workplace violence include:

  • verbal abuse, often with profane language
  • intimidation intended to frighten others
  • direct or indirect threats in person, or via mail, email, or phone calls
  • the use or concealment of a weapon outside organization rules
  • damage to or destruction of organization property
  • actual physical assault on another person
  • stalking another person or in some other way harrassing them

As there can be other examples or indicators, ongoing monitoring of activities and security assessment is necessary to recognize warning signs and address them.


Threats in the workplace are becoming more common every year, and the need for a workplace violence program for most organizations cannot be overemphasized. Kimmons Investigations in cooperation of Mitch Price, can deliver planning, consultation, or implementation of a workplace violence program, as Mitch Price has done for Fortune 150 companies.

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Posted in Corporate Services, Global Security.