It can start with something as simple as a disagreement and then suddenly a fight has broken out between two employees. Unfortunately this is a more common occurrence than most people would think. There are nearly two million reports of violence in the workplace every year and there are many more that are unreported.
Workplace violence threatens the health and safety of employees nationwide. What is it? It includes intimidation, threats, harassment, violent conduct, physical and verbal abuse, and even homicide. It can affect and involve employees, clients, customers or even visitors. In whatever way it manifests itself, workplace violence is a very serious concern throughout the united States.
So as an employer what should you do to prevent workplace violence?
There are several things that can be done right away. First, identifying any potential risk factors should be found. Are there employees that don't get along? Are there disagreements about certain rules or policies? After answering these questions you can move forward on how to prevent workplace violence.
A zero-tolerance policy should be instituted in any situation where workplace violence is involved. This policy should not include just employee on employee violence, but an instance where an employee is involved with another person while "on the clock".
For more information on violence in the workplace, OSHA has provided a document on Enforcement Procedures for Investigating or Inspecting Workplace Violence Incidents.