Workplace Violence Continues to Increase

A new survey shows that incidents of workplace violence have increased since 1996, and employers are responding to the increase with more security measures and preventative training, according to a Nov. 2 press releases from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
According to the 1999 Workplace Violence Survey conducted by SHRM, 57 percent of human resource professionals said that a violent incident occurred in their workplace between January 1996 and July 1999. In the 1996 SHRM survey, 48 percent of human resource professionals had reported violent acts.
The survey also found that the most common acts of violence were verbal threats, 41 percent, and pushing and shoving, 19 percent. Shootings and stabbings accounted for 2 percent of workplace violence incidences.
Personality conflicts, family or marital problems and work-related stress were the most common causes of violent acts at work.
"This survey bears out the fact that the potential for violence in the workplace should still be a top concern for employers," said SHRM President and CEO Michael R. Losey. "The good news is, the majority of employers are increasingly aware of the problem and are taking steps to address it."
The survey found that 68 percent of those responding said their organizations have written policies addressing workplace violence, up from 59 percent in 1996. In addition, 79 percent said their organizations have written policies regulating weapons on their premises, up from 73 percent in 1996.
Furthermore, 73 percent of employers said they have installed a security system to control building access, 52 percent refer potentially violent employees to Employee Assistance programs, and 35 percent train managers and supervisors to identify the warning signs of violent behavior.