Lesson 1: Topic 2 of 9
Humans can endure a great deal of stress and suffering if they are confident that they personally matter and are valued, and the contributions they make are needed and valued by others. This is true when dealing with wars and natural disasters; it’s also true in workplace settings.
The reverse, though, is also true: Those who struggle with believing they matter, and have few or no familial or social connections to affirm they are needed and wanted, are more likely to be depressed and take longer to heal from disease or injury. They are also more likely to become dangerous to themselves and to others.
It is impossible for businesses to insulate themselves from this trend toward increasingly weak social capital. And that means every organization needs to address the threat of violence in the workplace.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines workplace violence as “any physical assault, threatening behavior, or verbal offense occurring in the workplace setting.” Threats can be either explicit or implicit. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) records approximately two million such cases annually, and it is likely that there are many more that go unreported.
It should come as no surprise that law enforcement personnel deal with this danger regularly. Others who routinely experience it are customer service representatives, those whose jobs keep them out in public alone or in small groups (cable installers, delivery drivers, utility crews, etc.), and those whose duties require them to exchange money with the public. It may surprise you to learn one of the highest risk fields is healthcare.