Workplace Violence: Prevention Is Key

By Foran, Virginia | Occupational Hazards, October 2001 | Go to article overview

Workplace Violence: Prevention Is Key


Foran, Virginia, Occupational Hazards


Three workplace violence experts speaking at this year's Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association conference in August in New Orleans stressed prevention as the method for dealing with potentially aggressive employees.

Dr. John Byrnes, president of the Center for Aggression Management in Winter Park, Fla., told attendees that employers need to be able to manage and measure aggression to prevent employees from acting out their anger.

Preparing for acts of violence before they occur by being able to identify the behavioral signs of an aggressor is crucial to preventing a workplace violence incident, Byrnes said. Behavioral signs of an aggressor include scattered and disjointed thinking, belligerence toward others, constant swearing, little eye contact and holding the head down.

When faced with an aggressor, Byrnes stressed that the art of safe escape is paramount. "Human nature gives you two options: fight or flight," he said. "Fight is not a valid option. Choose flight."

Knowing the behavioral signs of an aggressor is an important part in helping to prevent acts of workplace violence; however, there are also organizational factors employers can implement to help create a workplace free from violence. …

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