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Volume 27, Issue 4

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Preventing Workplace Violence

Written by  DIANE L. KATZ, Ph.D January 6, 2011

Most disasters are caused by fire, water, explosions, or forces of nature, but employee conflict and stress can result in disaster if incidents escalate into violence. In the movie “Office Space,” an employee is obviously not okay. He is ignored, shunted off into a corner, and eventually sets fire to the office. Warning signs need to be addressed, not ignored, but most managers and employees lack training in identifying and dealing with potentially damaging situations. In Connecticut, a man being escorted out of the building pulled a gun out of his lunchbox and killed several people. The employer probably had some indication that the perpetrator was a risk. The Department of Labor (OSHA) Web site states: “Violence in the workplace is a serious safety and health issue. Its most extreme form, homicide, is the

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