HR Trends Series: Workplace Violence and the Increase of Active Shooters

Consider these sobering facts about workplace violence:

  • OSHA reports there are about 2 million cases of workplace violence reported every year.
  • Homicide is the 3rd leading cause of workplace deaths among healthcare workers and professional service providers, as reported by the National Safety Council.
  • The most common weapon used by a workplace killer is a gun.
  • The incidence of active shooters is on the increase, according to almost 20 years’ worth of data from the FBI.

HR managers are increasingly called to account for mitigating even these most threatening of risks. While it is true it remains difficult to identify who will commit an act of violence at work with certainty beforehand, it is also true that there is an emerging and growing body of practice that helps to make the barriers to workplace violence more effective.

A few years ago, the FBI published a guide to workplace violence policy that includes sections on “prevention, intervention, threat assessment and management, crisis management and critical incident response…” This 2002 document is still frequently cited as a comprehensive source for helping to identify potential threats as well as how to combat them. In addition, many important sources, such as SHRM, recommend that an organization have and keep current a policy on workplace violence.

The Role of Background Screening in Workplace Violence Prevention:

Careful hiring practices are the starting point for preventing workplace violence. Background screening does more than check for potential criminal backgrounds that might point to someone’s history and capacity for violence.

Through pre-employment background screening, employers can gain a more holistic view of the people they hire. Screening helps to illuminate character, the basic strength a person brings to unpredictable situations. Companies can also build a stronger culture of trust and safety by committing to background screening. Over time, this contributes to building a sense of community in the workplace, a collection of individuals of quality who learn they can depend on each other and the organization.

There may be no risk more important to mitigate, and none more difficult, than the risk of workplace violence. HR managers can find more information in our new whitepaper 9 HR Trends That Will Define Your Hiring and Retention Processes.

About Michael Gaul

Michael is a results-oriented marketing executive with over two decades of experience in employment screening, physical security, and business process management. Michael has deep experience in human capital risk management and a passion for educating business leaders and HR professionals on strategies that tangibly protect their interests. Michael serves on the Board of the Secure Cash and Transport Association (SCTA) and is a member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), and the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS).
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