Workplace Violence

Workplace Violence

Any act or intimidation, assault, harassment, or other threatening disruptive occurrence at the work setting amounts to workplace violence.  According to Hegney, Plank & Parker (2003) insults, homicide and physical assault represents violence and can result to occupational injuries. The essay will discuss the violence from employee health and safety perspective.

Why workplace violence has become a major problem in organizations

Workplace violence has a negative effect on employee morale

Existence of disruptive behaviors in the workplace such as verbal abuse and physical assault towards employees adversely impacts staff job morale.  Organizations find violence a major problem because ultimate results are decreased organizational productivity due to low morale. Various forms of violence in organizations hurts an employee’s job satisfaction, outlook and feelings of wellbeing a worker possess in the work place setting. Hegney et al., (2003) argue that employee morale is one of the corner stones that determines success or failure of a business.  Occurrence of violent behaviors make employees morale dip drastically ultimately impacting organizational productivity. Workplace violence has an economic toll to an organization.

Negative impact on worker and organizational productivity

Violence in the work place results to physical, mental, emotional and economic harm to an employee, ultimately leading deterioration of his or her productivity. Organizational productivity has a direct relationship to employee productivity (LeBlanc & Kelloway, 2002). Physical injuries resulting from acts such as bullying prompts employees seek day offs from work. Frequent absenteeism from work has a toll on employee productivity and translates to decreased organizational performance. Physically abused employees misses work more frequent, executes assigned responsibilities slowly and can make the staff unable to work. This is a major problem to organizations because overall mission of the business to maximize shareholders values and make profit gets affected.

Increased costs                                                                           

Various forms of abuse in the work place results to increased security costs, workers compensation claims and expenses related to litigation. Increased violence acts in an organization prompts business management employ counter violence mechanisms such as security cameras to monitor possible violence occurrences (LeBlanc & Kelloway, 2002). Furthermore, abused employees seek financial compensation from affiliated organizations to address inflicted injuries or material loss as a result or work place violence.

Strategies to prevent workplace violence

Pre-employment screening

The counter violence strategy entails undertaking preemptive steps to screen employees manifesting potential propensity for dangerous acts such as bullying. Identified employees harboring violent traits are not hired. According to Hegney et al., (2003) screening helps identify individuals having past criminal record as well as persons who have previously indulged in drugs. The tests carried reveal the individual education, past employment and professional certification history

Written policies

Implementing a written policy enlightens employees’ on forms of violence they should never indulge in. Moreover, the policy encourages employees to report violence incidences promptly. Written rules serve as demonstration of senior management commitment to weeding out workplace violence Hegney et al., (2003). Employees get trained as well as issuing posters and newsletter articles addressing disruptive behaviors.

Employee assistance programs

The program assist employees address and counter work place challenges that may trigger disruptive behaviors. As LeBlanc & Kelloway (2002) observe workplace aspects such as counselling, assessment, work related concerns such as stress, financial issues, family problems, office conflicts as well as alcohol and substance abuse are incorporated in the program.

Risk Assessment

Assessing potential risks is an element of good occupational health and safety management. It prevents possible violence by creating awareness and pin pointing potential hazards and risks. Risks posed to individuals are identified as well as determining viability of existing control measures (LeBlanc & Kelloway, 2002). Risks and control measures highlighted get prioritized according to need.


Hegney, D., Plank, A., & Parker, V. (2003). Workplace violence in nursing in Queensland, Australia: A self-reported study. International Journal of Nursing Practice. doi:10.1046/j.1440-172X.2003.00431.x

LeBlanc, M. M., & Kelloway, E. K. (2002). Predictors and outcomes of workplace violence and aggression. Journal of Applied Psychology. doi:10.1037//0021-9010.87.3.444


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