Why You Need a Robust Comprehensive Workplace Violence Prevention Program

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Did you know that every year, approximately two million people throughout the country are victims of non-fatal violence at the workplace? Workplace violence is a frustrating problem that can have devastating consequences for employees, employers, and society. In this blog post, I will explain why having a robust comprehensive workplace violence prevention program is essential for creating a safe and productive work environment.

What is a Comprehensive Workplace Violence Prevention Program?

A comprehensive workplace violence prevention program is a set of policies, procedures, and practices that aim to eliminate or minimize the risk of violence in the workplace. Workplace violence can be defined as any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It can range from verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide.

Workplace violence can affect anyone, regardless of occupation, industry, or location. However, some workers are more vulnerable than others, such as those who work with the public, handle money, deliver services, or work in high-stress or isolated settings.


Why is a Workplace Violence Prevention Program Beneficial?

A workplace violence prevention program can help employers and employees by:

  • Reducing the incidence and severity of violent incidents

  • Enhancing the safety and well-being of workers

  • Improving the morale and productivity of the workforce

  • Avoiding the costs and liabilities associated with workplace violence

  • Complying with the legal and ethical obligations to provide a safe work environment

Workplace violence can have serious negative impacts on the physical and mental health of workers, such as injuries, disabilities, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. It can also affect the performance and reputation of the organization, resulting in increased absenteeism, turnover, lawsuits, compensation claims, insurance premiums, and damage to property and equipment.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace violence is one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities in the United States. In 2019, there were 454 homicides and 20,790 injuries due to workplace violence reported by employers. The economic cost of workplace violence is estimated to be over $120 billion per year.

Employers have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure the safety and health of their workers. OSHA requires employers to provide a workplace that is “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm” to employees. This includes preventing and addressing workplace violence. Employers who fail to do so may face citations, penalties, lawsuits, and criminal charges.

What are the Components of a Comprehensive Workplace Violence Prevention Program?

A workplace violence prevention program should include the following components:

  • Written policy to eliminate or minimize risk: A clear and comprehensive policy that defines workplace violence, states the employer’s commitment and expectations, outlines the roles and responsibilities of workers and supervisors, and specifies the consequences of violating the policy.

  • Regular risk assessments: A systematic process of identifying and evaluating the potential sources and factors of workplace violence, such as the nature of the work, the work environment, the organizational culture, and the external influences.

  • Prevention procedures: A set of measures and controls to reduce or eliminate the risk of workplace violence, such as improving the physical security, modifying the work practices, enhancing the communication and cooperation, and providing the resources and support.

  • Worker and supervisor training: A mandatory and ongoing education and awareness program that covers the topics such as the policy and procedures, the risk factors and warning signs, the prevention and intervention strategies, the reporting and documentation requirements, and the available assistance and resources.

  • Procedures for reporting and investigating incidents: A confidential and consistent system for reporting, recording, and investigating any incidents or complaints of workplace violence, as well as providing the appropriate feedback and follow-up actions.

  • Incident follow-up: A timely and compassionate response to the victims, witnesses, and perpetrators of workplace violence, such as offering the medical and psychological care, facilitating the return to work, implementing the corrective and disciplinary actions, and evaluating the effectiveness of the program.



Workplace violence is a significant issue that affects millions of workers every year. Having a robust comprehensive workplace violence prevention program is not only a legal and ethical duty, but also a smart and effective way to protect your employees and your organization. I urge you to act today and implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention program that suits your needs and goals. Remember, prevention is better than cure.

About the Author

 Joseph Paul Manley is the Founder and Principal of Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC, an Independent Security Management Consulting and Training firm with a focus on Workplace Violence Prevention, Education and Mitigation. Paul is the author of “How to Stay Calm and Aware in Any Situation: A Practical Guide to Situational Awareness and De-escalation Strategies.” Paul is a retired Massachusetts Police Lieutenant, Adjunct Lecturer, Board-Certified Workplace Violence and Threat Specialist (WVTS), Certified Crisis Intervention Specialist (CCIS), Security Expert, and Trainer.


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