Behavioral Strategies

Training employees in nonviolent response and conflict resolution has been suggested to reduce the risk that volatile situations will escalate to physical violence. Also critical is training that addresses hazards associated with specific tasks or work sites and relevant prevention strategies. Training should not be regarded as the sole prevention strategy but as a component in a comprehensive approach to reducing workplace violence. To increase vigilance and compliance with stated violence prevention policies, training should emphasize the appropriate use and maintenance of protective equipment, adherence to administrative controls, and increased knowledge and awareness of the risk of workplace violence.

Perpetrator and Victim Profile

Only a small percentage of violence is perpetrated by the mentally ill, gang members, distraught relatives, drug users, social deviants, or threatened individuals, who are often aggressive or violent. A history of violent behavior is one of the best indicators of future violence by an individual. This information, however, may not be available, especially for new workers, patients, or clients. Even if this information were available, workers not directly involved with these individuals would not have access to it.

Workers who make home visits or do community work cannot control the conditions in the community and have little control over the individuals they may encounter in their work. The victims of assault are often untrained and unprepared to evaluate escalating behavior or to know and practice methods of defusing hostility or protecting themselves from violence. Training, when provided, is often not required as part of the job and may be offered infrequently. However, using training as the sole safety program element creates an impossible burden on the employee of safety and security for himself/herself, coworkers, or other clients. Personal protective measures may be needed, and communication devices are often lacking.

 
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