The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has one overarching suggestion for reducing workplace violence hazards: "One of the best protections employers can offer their workers is to establish a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence. This policy should cover all workers, patients, clients, visitors, contractors, and anyone else who may come in contact with company personnel."
There are many aspects that go in to a zero-tolerance policy, but it all starts with making sure employees report and log violent and threatening behaviors by coworkers. How can you kill your zero-tolerance policy before it even gets off the ground?
1. Make sure your employees feel scared of their supervisors. Double down and make sure they're also too afraid to report violent or threatening behavior up the normal management channels.
2. Make sure your employees are alienated from management. You don't want employees feeling comfortable enough with management to bring their concerns forward.
3. Make sure your employees have no idea how to report violent or threatening behavior. Better yet, don't even set a policy for reporting violent or threatening behavior. If there's no policy, you won't get any reports and your job is done!
4. Make sure your employees are clear that no action will be taken if they report violent or threatening behavior. Try a paper shredder at the bottom of the suggestion box. That way reports won't even be seen let alone investigated.
In all seriousness, employees need to have a clear picture about how and when to report violent or threatening behavior. No workplace violence policy will be effective if people don't know how to report threats. Come back in the next few days to learn some steps towards implementing a solid and effective zero-tolerance workplace violence policy.