Mini Self-Assessment – Does Your WPV Prevention Program Need Work?

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In January, the U.S. Department of Labor released its Fall 2022 Statement of Regulatory Priorities, which stated that OSHA will be taking its first step toward developing a Prevention of Workplace Violence rule to provide protections specifically for healthcare and care economy workers.

Many states already require healthcare organizations to implement workplace violence prevention programs for care industry workers, who tend to be most impacted by nonfatal violence at work. But with the overall statistics on workplace homicides again on the rise – 481 in 2021 compared to 454 in 2019 – some states are going further.

In the wake of the high-profile Half Moon Bay shootings, the California legislature introduced a bill that would require the state's occupational safety and health regulator to broaden its workplace violence prevention regulations beyond healthcare, and there are calls in other states to do the same.

Regardless of the regulatory situation, security practitioners have a duty of care to protect employees at all levels from injury and death on the job. How do you know you’re doing all you can or should do?

A recent analysis of the state of workplace violence in the United States by the SEC, with assistance from one of our interns at Mercyhurst University, compiled data on intentional injuries and homicides in the workplace, as well as underlying causes and typical elements of corporate workplace violence programs.

According to the report, the underlying causes of workplace violence can be separated into three categories:
  • Social and cultural (e.g., poor economic conditions; a criminal system without focus on violence prevention; a culture embracing violence)
  • Individual characteristics (e.g., addictions, marital and family issues, inability to resolve conflict)
  • Work environment (stressors like excessive roles and bullying; organization Issues like understaffing, excessive overtime, over-monitoring, and poor security)

One of the outcomes of this research project was a brief self-assessment for corporate security practitioners to determine whether their workplace violence prevention program requires attention.

Does the company's workplace violence program include:
  1. A clear, consistently enforced policy stating what workplace violence is and the corporate response to it
  2. Assigned and defined cross-functional team member roles
  3. Management commitment and worker participation
  4. Involvement of key groups (executive, human resources, corporate security, legal, safety and workers compensation, employee assistance programs)
  5. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  6. Training and education for violent behavior identification
  7. Consistent delivery of program for all personnel
  8. A well-defined incident mitigation playbook of options covering administrative, criminal justice system, mental health and civil law strategies to keep people safe and reduce the likelihood of violence
  9. Defined and communicated reporting structure and subsequent processes

If you answered “no” to three or more questions, the organization’s WPV program requires evaluation.

Where do you stand? SEC consultants can work with you to evaluate your company’s WPV prevention program to ensure it provides the right level of protection for employees as well as adequate safeguards against legal action. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

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