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How to Prepare an Organization to Prevent Workplace Violence

Workplace violence and mass shootings have become a common occurrence in the United States. No longer are the majority of people surprised that an act of workplace violence has occurred. We almost expect it.

There are often warning signs a workplace violence act may occur. But if you don’t know how to recognize those warning signs how can you respond appropriately? The best way to respond to an act of workplace violence or a mass shooting is to recognize and avoid the situation before it even occurs.

There exists a phenomenon known as the “Bystander Effect”. In its simplest form the Bystander Effect states that the more people that are aware of a threat of violence the less likely they are to report it. It seems counterintuitive as you read this in a non-stress environment, or when you are not directly involved in a threat situation. None the less, it is real, and worse yet dangerous and potentially life threatening.

How can we prepare our organizations for the response we must take to prevent an act of workplace violence? The following are some steps you can take to prepare in advance of a violent incident.

  1. Having a plan and training your employees creates a culture of a safe workplace. With training and options for reporting workplace violence, employees feel safe and empowered to help stop a violent act.

  2. Establish clear rules and penalties for acts of workplace violence. Have regular meetings to educate and remind workers of these regulations.

  3. Create a team that can assist when a threat is made in the workplace. No one needs to handle a violent threat alone. Regardless of the size of your workforce there are low or no cost options to have a team assist in planning for, and responding to, an act of workplace violence. Your team needs to practice together. A 15-minute roundtable discussion with your team once a month will pay immeasurable dividends in the event you need to activate your team.

To find out more ways to keep your organization safe from acts of workplace violence go to We can be of assistance in training and helping develop a culture of safety, reporting mechanisms, and liability reduction in your organization.

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