Workplace Violence Prevention

Workplace violence causes a significant number of deaths and injuries in Washington and throughout the country.  In 2010, workplace violence was the third leading cause of workplace deaths in Washington State.

The following provides preventive measures that can be established at your workplace to deal with threatening, intimidating, and/or potentially violent behavior:

Work Environment

The best prevention strategy is to maintain an environment which minimizes negative feelings, such as isolation, resentment, and hostility among employees.

  • Promote sincere, open, and timely communication among managers and employees
  • Offer opportunities for professional development
  • Foster a family-friendly work environment
  • Maintain mechanisms for complaints and concerns and allow them to be expressed in non-judgmental forums that include timely feedback to the initiator
  • Promote “quality of life” issues such as facilities and job satisfaction
  • Maintain impartial and consistent discipline for employees who exhibit improper conduct and poor performance


Maintaining a secure and physically safe workplace is part of any good strategy for preventing workforce violence.  Some good practices include:

  • Designated security personnel to respond to requests for assistance
  • Employee photo identification badges and coded key cards for access to secure areas
  • On-site guard services
  • Appropriate security measures such as metal detectors


Education and communication are critical components of any prevention strategy.

  • Communicate an awareness program which includes employees, supervisors, and managers regarding all aspects of workforce violence; what is it, what to do when faced with certain problems, employee and management responsibilities, early intervention techniques, and who to call for assistance.
  • Educate employees and communicating to them techniques designed to effectively deal with conflict resolution and stress

SOURCE: US Department of Labor
Workplace Violence Program

Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Tool Box Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Tool Box Talk relevant to your jobsite.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for discussion

  • What can we do on this jobsite to make it a safer place to work?
  • Does your company have a workforce violence prevention policy?