Acts of extreme violence in the workplace are often preceded by some sign of extreme emotional pain, stress, mental disturbance or some previous incident of violent behavior. Your awareness of these warning signs and action to report them if observed will help protect the safety of yourself and your co-workers.1
The following is a checklist for some actions that warrant reporting:
Threats might be phrased in several different ways.
Threatening or violent behavior is often triggered by some event that contributes to already existing stress or, as the saying goes, adds the straw that breaks the camel's back. This might include an argument with a supervisor over a poor performance review, problem with a co-worker, failure to receive an expected promotion, termination of employment, or some non-work-related crisis.
There is no exact method to predict if or when an irate or disgruntled worker will become violent. One or more warning signs may be displayed before a person becomes violent but this does not necessarily indicate that a person will become violent. Their stress might be released through any one of a variety of behaviors -- constructive as well as counterproductive.
In addition to the overt actions in the checklist above, the following individual characteristics may be a basis for concern:
Remember that you are one of the keys for
preventing workplace violence in our organization. You are in the best position to observe
a potential problem in your working environment on a daily basis. If you have a concern,
report it. Additional information on preventing and dealing with workplace
violence is available on the Occupational Safety & Health Admininistration (OSHA)