10 Ways to Spot Potentially Violent Employees in the Workplace

A few years ago, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple, shot and killed 14 people and injured 21 others at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. The two targeted a San Bernardino County Department of Public Health training event and holiday party with about 80 employees in attendance at the rented auditorium. Before the shooting, Syed Farook had attended the event as an employee.

This horrendous crime proves that violence can happen at any time. Are you as prepared as you can be?

Expert Human Resources is providing the following information regarding workplace violence to help you Protect Your Workforce.

Workplace Violence Statistics and OSHA Requirements

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFQI), there were 506 workplace homicides that occurred in the United States in 2010. Homicide is the leading cause of death for women in the workplace. Workplace violence is a major concern for employers and employees.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration law requires that employers provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury).

Risk of Liability

Acts of violence in the workplace can result in death of workers, as well as, expensive legal actions against employers. Risks can include:

  • Civil actions for negligent hiring, retention or supervision
  • Workers’ Comp claims
  • Increase in FMLA and leave
  • Claims resulting from ADA
  • OSHA citations, fines, and criminal charges.

Therefore, it is essential that steps be taken in an effort to prevent workplace violence.

Although, there is no iron clad method to determine who might engage in violent behavior on the job or how to stop violence. The best thing employers can do to be prepared is to be educated. Experts on workplace violence provide psychological profiles of typical violent offenders/perpetrators and how to spot them. We are listing 10 of those profiles below:

  1. A controlling nature, change can unravel him or her
  2. Obsession with power
  3. Violent opinions, usually blame victims
  4. Paranoia, believes people are out to get him or her
  5. Frequently using malicious references, i.e. “She will get hers…”
  6. Angry most of the time and always seething
  7. Frequently stressed
  8. Threatening behavior
  9. Heavy drinkers, smokers, possibly drug users
  10. Displays strange behavior

What should employers do?

Employers should:

  • Not be in denial
  • Be aware and train managers
  • Offer EAP services
  • Work with HR regarding suspicious behavior and policy interpretation

Need help? Call us today for assistance at (877) 356-6175 or complete form below.

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