Prevention Efforts

Although it is difficult to pinpoint specific causes and solutions for the increase in violence in the workplace, recognition of the problem is a beginning. Some solutions to the overall reduction of violence in this country may be found in actions such as eliminating violence in television programs, implementing effective programs of gun control, and reducing drug and alcohol abuse. All companies should investigate programs recently instituted by several convenience store chains or robbery deterrence strategies such as increased lighting, closed-circuit TV monitors, and visible money-handling locations. If sales are involved, consider limiting access and egress and providing security staff. An employer might want to construct a response plan. Although it may not help to prevent incidents, a response plan should be incorporated into an overall plan of prevention. Training employees in management of assaultive behavior (MAB) or professional assault response has been shown to reduce the incidence of assaults. Administrative controls and mechanical devices are being recommended and gradually implemented.

Some safety measures may seem expensive or difficult to implement but are needed to adequately protect the health and well-being of workers. It is also important to recognize that the belief that certain risks are part of the job contributes to the continuation of violence and possibly the shortage of trained workers.

These guidelines, while not exhaustive, include philosophical approaches as well as practical methods to prevent and control assaults. The potential for violence may always exist for workers; the cooperation and commitment of employers are necessary. However, it is a must to translate these guidelines into an effective program for the occupational safety and health of the workforce.

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