SafetyWatch: Avoid workplace violence

November 20, 2017 -  By
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Workplace violence is defined as physical force, an attempt at physical force or a threat of physical force by someone against a worker in a workplace that causes or could cause harm to the worker.

Keep in mind, things don’t have to become physical to be considered violent.

If you are dealing with an agitated person, remember that getting out of the situation is your highest priority.

Follow these tips if a situation escalates:

  • Interrupt firmly but politely.
  • Advise the person that you don’t like the tone of the situation, you will not accept abusive treatment and you will end the conversation if necessary.
  • Tell the person that you will ask him or her to leave, or that you will leave.
  • Leave immediately if the behavior continues.

In many cases, you might be able to diffuse the situation. In those cases, make sure you:

  • Focus on the person.
  • Speak slowly, confidently and simply.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Encourage the person to talk.
  • Remain open-minded and objective.
  • Use silence as a calming tool.

Make sure you do not:

  • Glare or stare at the person.
  • Interrupt.
  • Situate yourself in a way that blocks your exit.
  • Pose a challenging stance (i.e., crossed arms, hands on hips).
  • Fight.

To read the Spanish version, click here.

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