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The Cost Of Workplace Violence Prevention And Awareness

   By: Felix P Nater

The Threat of Violence is On the Rise...

A safe and productive workplace is in everyone's interest, but the number of violent acts, including threats of violence, has increased over 400% over the last decade. Workplace Violence Prevention and Education initiatives are paramount before an incident happens, saving businesses considerable time, resources in addition, legal fees, but most importantly, the implementation of mandatory changes to the workplace to protect employees from any future threat of a violent act. It is important to note that when experts refer to violent acts, they are referring to acts of violence by employees and criminal predators that commit armed robberies or assault employees while on the job.

Reality Hitting Home...

OSHA & NIOSH Statistics show that the risk of being attacked while working is seven times greater in the U.S. than in Europe. Did you know that the number of managers killed has doubled over the past 10 years. Moreover, that only 40-50% of workforce victims report crime to the police. The threat of Workplace Violence has proven to be a challenge, it can occur internally (co-workers, self-inflicted) and externally (customer/employee, domestic violence, robbery/assault/rape) and can be physical or non-physical. Recent trends suggest that places of work are now the victims of domestic and international terrorist demands.

The Hidden Cost of Workplace Violence...

Organizational effectiveness, productivity, the culture and image are adversely impacted by a violent act at work including:

Lost work time (average of 3.5 days per incident for those directly impacted); Increased security and facilities repair costs; High probability of litigation; increased workers compensation claims & costs; Increased medical claims; Personnel turnover; increased incidents of stress between labor organizations and management, significantly reduced performance & productivity & Negative internal and external publicity & press are but a few symptoms of the hostile workplace.

Personnel turnover is deeply rooted in an employee's unwillingness to be perceived as a troublemaker and resigns or asks for a reassignment rather than complaining. Such personnel turnovers are a company's worst nightmare, as they will undoubtedly volunteer to testify against the employer in the aftermath.

No one knows the exact dollar figure associated to workplace violence related exposure. Such costs are absorbed in increased medical and injury compensation claims under other unrelated ailments related to a workplace violence exposure. In this category might be the victims of harassment, verbal abuse and other forms of non-physical assaultive behavior but victims of psychological assault.

Felix P. Nater, President of Nater Associates, a security management consulting practice specializing in the proactive and preventive aspects of workplace violence & security awareness. You can visit with Nater Associates at: to view his strategy and testimonials.

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