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Workplace violence: Always be prepared

Today is Labor Day, the official last day of summer. We can still barbecue for a while yet, but, we all know that the days are getting shorter; the seasons are going to change. So enjoy the holiday.

Everyone doesn’t have the day off. Police officers, EMTs, firefighters, emergency rooms, restaurants, shops and stores … there are a lot of people working today. We all know how that works. However, we can be better prepared to see to the safety of our families and ourselves. Violence doesn’t take holidays off.

The National Safety Council reports that assaults are the fourth leading cause of workplace deaths. In 2017, there were 458 fatalities and 18,400 injuries reported in the workplace. Those who work in the fields of health care, education or are service providers are more likely to experience workplace violence.

There is no way to predict when such a crisis will occur. But preparing ahead, having a policy and procedure to follow in your workplace, having training so you know what to do if such a thing happens is to your advantage.

Some people commit violence for revenge, robbery or ideology, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Workplace violence may involve a person who:

¯Use alcohol or drugs excessively.

¯Has unexplained absences, changes in behavior or work performance declines.

¯Is depressed, withdrawn or talks about suicide.

¯Is resistant to changes on the job and complain about being unfairly treated.

¯Violates policies of the company.

¯Is moody, doesn’t take criticism well.

¯Is paranoid.

The words to remember are: run, hide, fight. If you can escape, run, and take others with you if they will go, but vacate immediately. Don’t worry about your belongings. Just get out of the building. If you can’t get out, barricade the door and look for weapons – fire extinguisher, chair – whatever you can find. Find a hiding place where you will not be trapped if the person finds you. Silence your phone and stay quiet. If you opt to fight, commit to it and don’t have second thoughts, don’t back down.

Visit at www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/13369-workplace-violence-prevention to access a video produced by the city of Houston, Texas which may better explain how to handle workplace violence.

According to OSHA, nearly two million people report workplace violence every year. There is no way to know how many incidents go unreported. The threatening person can be a customer who feels like a company or store treated them wrong, a disgruntled co-worker or a domestic partner or former partner of an employee.

Training is about safety, not causing fear or anxiety. It’s about empowering people to protect themselves, to know what to do if ever they find themselves in such a situation. Grant funding may be available for some workplace violence prevention programs, according to Safety and Health Magazine.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.

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