April 19, 2024 9 min read

Workplace Violence Training to Stay Compliant


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Online TrainingSafety

Numerous studies show that employee safety is on the decline in recent years. There are numerous factors contributing to this, but one of the main ones is sharp declines in employee mental health and well-being. Investing in proper workplace violence training has never been more important to protect workers and remain compliant with new legislation like California’s SB 553.

In this blog, we’ll share what makes a great workplace violence prevention training program and outline our numerous eLearning courses that can fulfill the requirements of laws like SB 553.

What Are the Types of Workplace Violence?

There are many forms of workplace violence, each requiring different strategies for prevention and response. Understanding the types of violence that can occur at workplaces is an essential first step to developing a comprehensive prevention plan that keeps people safe.

One in four employees in the U.S. have witnessed workplace violence happening to a colleague in the last five years. And 12% have been the target.

Violence in the workplace can have criminal intent or can be due to interpersonal conflicts. And it can occur between any individuals in the workplace, including customers, employees, those in managerial positions, or people outside the workplace who commit acts of violence on the premises (e.g., an active shooter event).

Here are the primary categories of workplace violence:

1. Physical Violence

Physical violence involves any act where an individual uses physical force against another person in the workplace. This can range from minor altercations to severe assaults, resulting in physical harm or injury. Examples include hitting, pushing, kicking, or using weapons to inflict harm.

2. Verbal Violence

Verbal violence encompasses any form of threatening, intimidating, or hostile language directed at an individual or group within the workplace. This can include verbal abuse, harassment, bullying, or threats of violence. While it may not result in physical harm, verbal violence can have profound psychological effects on victims and contribute to a hostile work environment.

3. Psychological or Emotional Violence

Psychological or emotional violence refers to behaviors or actions that inflict mental anguish, emotional distress, or psychological harm on others in the workplace. This can include manipulation, coercion, gaslighting, microaggressions, or other forms of emotional abuse aimed at controlling or demeaning individuals.

4. Sexual Harassment and Assault

Sexual harassment and assault involve any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that creates a hostile or offensive work environment. These forms of violence can range from inappropriate comments and gestures to unwanted physical contact or assault.

What is Workplace Violence Training?

Workplace violence training is online and in person education that an organization provides their employees to help them recognize the signs of violence, prevent violence, and respond to incidents.

Workplace violence training is essential for fostering a culture of safety and preparedness within an organization. By raising awareness about the different types of workplace violence and their warning signs, employees become better equipped to identify potential threats and take preventive measures before situations escalate.

Key Components of Workplace Violence Prevention Training

Effective workplace violence training should cover a range of topics, including:

  • Warning Signs. Educate employees on the behavioral and situational indicators of potential violence, such as aggressive behavior, verbal threats, or escalating conflicts.
  • Conflict Resolution and De-escalation. Provide employees with conflict resolution skills and de-escalation techniques to defuse tense situations and prevent violence from occurring.
  • Emergency Response Procedures. Training employees on the organization’s emergency response protocols, including how to report incidents, evacuate safely if necessary, and seek assistance from law enforcement or security personnel.
  • Violence Prevention Policies. Share your company’s workplace violence prevention policies, procedures, and reporting mechanisms with your employees.

Compliance Requirements

Under the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are “required to provide their employees with a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” In other words, one of the hazards that OSHA enforces is sufficient efforts to prevent violence in the workplace.

In many cases, workplace violence training may also be a legal requirement. For example, California just passed Senate Bill 553, which requires California employers to implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan and training on the plan starting July 1, 2024. Cal/OSHA will be proposing additional standards by December 1, 2025.

In these cases, legislation will clearly outline what type of training employers must provide, how often, and on what topics.

It’s important to ask your eLearning provider about these requirements and if their training meets the requirements in the legislation.

Benefits for Employees and Employers

90% of employees believe that other states should adopt workplace violence prevention policies similar to California SB 553. And the reasons are obvious. Workplace violence impacts individuals and communities in so many ways.

Investing in workplace violence training not only enhances employee safety but also delivers numerous benefits for employers, including:

  1. Reduced Risk and Liability. By proactively addressing workplace violence risks, organizations can minimize the likelihood of incidents occurring and mitigate potential legal liabilities.
  2. Improved Employee Morale and Engagement. Demonstrating a commitment to employee safety and well-being fosters a positive work environment and enhances employee morale, productivity, and retention.
  3. Enhanced Company Reputation. Prioritizing workplace safety can bolster an organization’s reputation as a responsible employer and attract top talent.

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What Are the Elements of an Effective Workplace Violence Prevention Program?

An effective workplace violence prevention program goes beyond online training. Keeping employees safe requires a commitment to safety across the organization and must be reflected in workplace policies, procedures, and strategies. Here are the key elements of an effective workplace violence prevention program:

  • Risk Assessment and Hazard Identification. The first step is to conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify potential hazards and vulnerabilities within the organization. This involves evaluating factors such as the nature of the work environment, the prevalence of violent incidents, and the presence of high-risk individuals or situations. Use this data to set clear objectives for your program and timelines for implementing updates.
  • Policies and Procedures. Next, create clear and comprehensive written policies and procedures to establish guidelines for prevention, reporting, and response. These policies should address issues such as zero-tolerance for violence, conflict resolution protocols, reporting mechanisms, and disciplinary actions.
  • Employee Training. Educating employees is critical for empowering them to recognize warning signs, de-escalate potentially volatile situations, and take appropriate action to ensure their safety and that of their colleagues. Training should be tailored to the specific needs of employees at all levels of the organization and reinforced regularly.
  • Security Measures. Implementing physical security measures and controls can help deter acts of violence and enhance the overall safety of the workplace. This may include measures such as access controls, surveillance cameras, panic alarms, and security personnel presence.
  • Emergency Response Plans. Developing a comprehensive emergency response plan is essential. This includes establishing communication channels, evacuation procedures, assembly points, and coordination with law enforcement and emergency services.

Vector Solutions Workplace Violence Training Offerings

At Vector Solutions, we offer a robust range of courses to help organizations comply with mandatory human resources and safety compliance training, including diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), anti-harassment, and workplace violence prevention.

If you’re looking for online training to create safer workplaces, consider the following five courses:

  • Protecting Your Team Against Workplace Violence: This one-hour course reviews the factors that contribute to workplace violence and how to spot and prevent violent incidents.
  • Violence in the Workplace: This short training raises awareness of the consequences of workplace violence, including spotting warning signs.
  • Active Shooter and Other Acts of Targeted Violence: One of Vector Solutions’ most utilized courses, this one-hour, interactive training educates employees about active shooter scenarios and how to improve chances of survival.
  • Active Shooter Response: This short training offering provides learners with the best actions to take in an active shooter situation and how to deal with law enforcement officers.
  • Workplace Security: This course discusses common security threats and the steps to take in events of workplace violence, theft, vandalism, and cybersecurity threats.

Ensuring Compliance with California SB 553

California SB 553 requires employers in California to:

  • Develop customized safety plans that are tailored to the hazards in each work area and operation for their business.
  • Ensure their plan includes detailed procedures for receiving and addressing reports of workplace violence from employees.
  • Regularly review and revise their plan as needed.
  • Maintain detailed logs of all workplace violence incidents.
  • Provide comprehensive training to all employees.
  • Retain training records for at least one year and logs of violent incidents and investigation records for at least five years.

The five courses we shared in the section above can be used in your training program to achieve compliance. And we have a suite of safety tools, including Vector EHS Management and Vector LiveSafe that can help solve your challenges with accurate reporting and emergency communications.

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Why Choose Vector Solutions for Employee Safety Training?

Selecting the right provider for employee safety training is crucial for ensuring that your workforce receives the highest quality education and preparation to mitigate workplace violence risks. Vector Solutions stands out as a trusted partner in delivering comprehensive and customizable training solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of organizations across various industries.

“The LiveSafe platform really is a good way for us to connect with our teams, make sure we have a check-in capability, and to push resources to them.”

— Sr. Director of Global EHS

“A cornerstone of our world-class safety program is our attention to even minor incidents and our investigation of all potential safety issues. The data we pull from Vector EHS’s dashboards and reports is an invaluable part of this process and helps us make adjustments to how we work to continuously improve safety.”

— HSE Manager

With years of experience providing industry-specific safety and compliance training, Vector Solutions brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge to the table. Our team of subject matter experts develop engaging and effective training programs that address the latest regulatory requirements and industry best practices.

Contact us today if you’d like to see our workplace violence training and safety solutions in action.

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