response to workplace violence

FBI Workplace Violence Prevention: Readiness and Response

Christine L. Peterson, CPP, ISPWorkplace Violence

workplace violence prevention and responseIn January 2011, the FBI published Workplace Violence Prevention: Readiness and Response. This is a fairly lengthy and detailed article that is definitely worth the read.

We found this information especially interesting:

    • A handful of high-profile incidents have led to increased public awareness. However, prevalence rates show that nonfatal workplace violence is a more common phenomenon than previously believed.


    • Reported workplace violence events cost the American workforce approximately $36 billion dollars per year.


    • It is critical to understand that workplace violence does not happen at random or “out of the blue”. Rather, perpetrators usually display some behaviors of concern. Thus, awareness of these indicators and the subsequent implementation of an action plan to de-escalate potentially violent situations form essential components of workplace violence prevention.


    • Intervention strategies must take into account two aspects of the workplace violence spectrum: action and flash points. An action point is the moment when an individual recognizes that an employee may be on the path toward committing some type of violent act in the workplace and subsequently takes action to prevent it. A “flash point,” the moment when workplace violence occurs, is too late for any type of preventive strategy. Implement initiatives early, once you detect an action point.


  • Disparities exist in responses between those who have and those who have not been trained to deal with these types of stressful situations. Both groups initially react with startle and fear. Then, they begin to diverge: the untrained panic, whereas the trained experience controllable anxiety. From that point on, the trained group members begin to recall what they should do next, prepare, and act. The untrained, however, experience disbelief that eventually leads to denial and, ultimately, helplessness.

Read the full article here.

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