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A workplace violence policy is a policy that protects those at a job site from physical harm while at that location. In addition to prohibiting certain actions, such policies may also prohibit certain weapons from being carried into the buildings, or even onto the property. The workplace violence policy may apply both to employees, and anyone else on the scene. It will also prescribe penalties for violations.
A workplace violence policy often addresses the issue of intervention. When a violent episode happens, there will be procedures in place for how to deal with that. If intervention is to be done by an employee, the policy often explains how much and in what cases intervention is to be offered, the techniques to be used, and the training the employee will receive before intervention is practiced. In some cases, employees may not be called upon to intervene but simply call authorities. In other cases, especially in mental health facilities, prisons, and even schools, intervention by employees may be necessary.
Other safety issues may also be addressed in a workplace violence policy. For example, some policies will be so specific that the types of shrubbery outside the building will be mandated. This could be important to prevent ambushes of employees or customers coming in and out of the building. Though such detailed policies are the exception, all will usually include some basic safety protocols.
Penalties prescribed in a workplace violence policy may be very vague, such as those determined by an administrator, or could be very specific. The policy will usually state the more serious offenses could easily result in immediate termination of employment. There may also be penalties such as workplace probation and suspension that could also be assessed, depending on the violation.
The other issue a workplace violence policy will often address is that of harassment. This often goes hand in hand with physical violence, and could escalate to that level if left unchecked. Therefore, most policies will address this issue as a preemptive measure to assure escalation does not happen.
If a workplace violence policy is formulated or updated, employees will often be called upon to help make the policy better. At any rate, once the new policy is in place, most employees will at least have to sign a statement attesting to the fact they have read the policy, and understand what it says. This assures all employees will understand what is expected and should eliminate excuses when problems arise.
I work at a big school that has had problems with student violence in the past. In response to it, they developed a strict code of conduct and workplace violence policy banning all items that could possibly be used as weapons.
In the past, I could bring nail clippers, tweezers, and small scissors in my purse to work. Now, I cannot. They will set off the metal detector that I have to pass through each day, and they will be confiscated.
Students cannot bring pocket knives or lighters to school. They cannot even wear jewelry with extremely sharp points like spikes or animal teeth.
As far as I know, the small company that I work for has never had any issues with violence in the workplace. They do, however, make reference to intolerance of it in the employee handbook.
Rather than outlining specific acts, it just says that no guns, knives, or other weapons may be brought onto the premises. It also states that physical harm and harassment are forbidden.
An employee who brings a weapon with him to work or harms another employee will be fired immediately. This zero tolerance policy seems to be working, because my workplace is a very safe environment.