I was reading the paper the other day when I saw another article about an incident of violence in the workplace. It seems to be happening more and more often.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines workplace violence as any physical assault, threatening behavior or verbal abuse occurring in a work setting. It can affect anyone in your workplace: Employees, clients, customers and visitors.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that violence in the workplace doesn’t just cover an incident involving conventional weapons or lethal force. In reality, workplace violence most often happens with whatever is at hand—everyday objects like pens, staplers, scissors, briefcases, etc. According to OSHA, the number one weapon used in workplace violence incidents is what most people have on them at all times: Fists and feet.

Another common misconception is that there must be an underlying mental illness. In reality, people with mental health challenges are more likely to be victims of violence than the perpetrators.

The number one indicator of violence? A history of past violence. Typically, there are warning signs that we don’t realize are warning signs because we lack the knowledge, understanding and training in violence prevention to recognize the actions for what they are.

If you would like to learn more about this subject, FEI offers customizable trainings on workplace violence prevention. Please browse our training offerings or, if you’re a client, access the catalog through your EAP website.

Be prepared. Don’t let violence catch your workplace off guard.