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Distributor's Link Magazine Spring 2019 / Vol 42 No2

54 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

54 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Gary Sheely Gary Sheely is a Tactical Confrontation Specialist focusing on workplace violence issues. He’s published three books, including his latest one, “Safe at Work: How Smart Supervisors Reduce the Risk of Workplace Violence.” He conducts training workshops and has been a keynote speaker across the United States. He can be reached at garys@safetyinstitute.com. HOW TO PROTECT EMPLOYEES FROM AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR AT WORK At a recent workshop with about two hundred and fifty attendees, representing approximately one hundred and ninety organizations, I performed an informal survey. I asked for a show of hands from those whose workplace had a written anti-bullying policy. Less than half of those in attendance raised their hands. I did the same for a workplace violence policy. The response was better than half, but still less than two-thirds. This tells me that more companies need to be aware of what needs to be included in an anti-violence policy in order to protect employees from aggressive, unwanted behavior at work. What To Include In An Anti-Violence Policy Some experts suggest that having both an anti-bullying policy and an anti-violence policy is unnecessary and redundant. This is not true. There will be some overlap between the two, especially on the issue of threatening behaviors, but there are fundamental differences that cannot be rolled into a single comprehensive policy. For instance, not all bullying involves threatening behaviors, and not all threats can be defined as simply bullying. In organizations that adopt both types of policies, care should be taken to insure consistency between the two at points of overlap, especially in the area of threatening behaviors. Effective anti-violence policies will include the following seven elements: [1] Acknowledge violence as an occupational safety and health hazard. [2] Provide clear definitions of threatening behaviors will be regarded as threatening violence and workplace violence, including unwanted physical contact, fighting, pushing, etc. CONTRIBUTOR ARTICLE [3] Outline a reporting procedure to ensure the effectiveness of the policy. [4] Describe consequences of violent behavior, including what leads to dismissal. [5] Include an action plan for educating employees concerning the policy. [6] Establish an Assessment Team, whose job it is to investigate reports of violent incidents or threats of violence in the workplace. [7] Identify provisions for employees who are victims of violence to have access to critical incident stress debriefing resources. An anti-violence policy that identifies and prohibits violence can make employees aware of their own behaviors that might be considered in violation of the policy. It also provides a specific framework for responding to violent incidents. CONTINUED ON PAGE 128

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