Workplace Violence Prevention Training 

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Understanding Workplace Violence Prevention and Response

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace violences includes "any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site." Workplace violence can range from verbal abuse to physical violence to even homicide.

Clearly, employers should do everything they can to protect employees from potential workplace violence. Moreover, under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's General Duty Clause, employers are legally required to provide employees with "employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm." The Occupational Safety and Health Administration ( OSHA) has clarified that workplace violence can constitute such a hazard, and employers can face enforcement action for failing to take reasonable steps to prevent it. States are also increasingly adopting laws that require workplace violence prevention programs, particularly for organizations that employ healthcare professionals. Workplace violence prevention training is an essential part of any workplace violence prevention program.

Who Is at Risk of Workplace Violence?

All employers should be aware that workplace violence is a major threat to employees in the United States. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that two million American workers are victims of workplace violence each year. In fact, homicide is one of the leading causes of job-related deaths in the United States. These incidents highlight the need for employers to protect their employees. It is also critical that employers realize that workplace violence can involve employees, but also anyone at the work site, including clients, contractors, and visitors. Employers in all industries should establish a workplace violence prevention training program, but high risk industries, like healthcare workers and public service workers, should place an increased emphasis on this training.

The FBI recommends periodic active shooter and workplace violence prevention training for all employees. Clear Law’s Workplace Violence Prevention training teaches employees how to protect themselves in the event of an active shooter incident using FBI and Department of Homeland Security recommended techniques. The workplace violence training also teaches employees how to recognize warning signs and risk factors for workplace violence.

Workplace Violence

Workplace Violence Course Topics

Through a series of interactive scenarios and learning games, employees learn about the following topics:

Recognizing Workplace Violence

  • Risk factors and warning signs that a coworker may become violent at work
  • Recognizing when a coworker has made a threat
  • Knowing when an employee is more likely to become a victim of violence at work
  • Domestic violence and how it affects the workplace

Reporting Workplace Violence

  • How to report concerns about a coworker’s behavior
  • Organizational policies on workplace violence

Workplace Violence Course Design

Clear Law Institute’s Workplace Violence Prevention online training teaches employees:

  • How to respond when an active shooter is in the workplace, and
  • How to recognize risk factors for workplace violence

Among other things, employees learn:

  • Common risk factors and problematic behaviors that signal propensities for workplace violence
  • Best practices for reporting concerns about threats or red flags for violence, including domestic violence that can impact the workplace

Our workplace violence training utilizes a story-based approach with nuanced scenarios. Learners must decide how they would respond to several issues that could arise in a workplace violence situation. Learners also learn to spot red flags of potential workplace violence.

Learners can submit questions about the course content which are answered within two business days.

Accessible to Users with Disabilities

Unlike most training providers, Clear Law Institute ensures that its training is accessible to users with disabilities as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Clear Law's training meets not only Section 508 requirements but also the strict requirements of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Level AA Success Criteria.


The online course can be customized to your organization’s specific policies and procedures, so that employees receive the exact guidance they need to comply with your organization’s policies. Users can be required to certify that they have read and understood your specific policies.

Clear Law can include your organization’s logo, workplace images, and an introductory audio or video message from a senior official in your organization.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is workplace violence prevention training?
While employers are responsible for the safety of their employees, it's important not to overlook the role employees play in their own safety. This is where workplace violence prevention training comes in.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace violence is defined as any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other dangerous behavior that takes place at work. Workplace violence can range from verbal abuse to physical assault, and it can happen in any environment, including retail spaces, offices, and even hospitals.

Workplace violence prevention training will help employees learn how to identify potential hazards, avoid dangerous situations, and respond appropriately in the event of an incident. With the right training, employees can take an active role in keeping themselves and their coworkers safe. Moreover, employers can reduce the risk of costly lawsuits, which can arise from workplace violence incidents.

Employers should also take steps to prevent workplace violence from taking place. This can include establishing a zero-tolerance policy or implementing a complete workplace violence prevention program which of course, should always include effective training.
What are the three levels of violence prevention?
Preventing violence in the workplace is important to ensure the safety and well-being of employees. It is important to understand the three levels of violence prevention to be able to identify potential or actual violent situations and respond accordingly.

Level One (Early Warning Signs)

At this level, the warning signs are usually intimidation, bullying, discourteous/disrespectful behavior, uncooperative attitude, and verbal abuse. It is essential to observe the behavior and report the concerns to the supervisor or next level of supervision. Document the observed behavior and meet with the offending employee to discuss concerns. Establish limits on acceptable behavior and performance, identify the steps to correct the problems, and set timeframes for changes and consequences.

Level Two (Escalation of the Situation)

At this level, the warning signs are arguing with customers or co-workers, refusal to obey agency policies, sabotaging equipment, verbalizing wishes to hurt others, sending threatening notes, and seeing oneself as a victim. The response at this level is more urgent, and if necessary, call 911 and other appropriate emergency contacts. Contact the supervisor immediately and secure your own safety and others' if needed. Document the observed behavior and meet with the employee to discuss concerns. Begin or continue progressive discipline, and direct the aggressive tendencies to a different behavior if possible.

Level Three (Further Escalation-Usually Resulting in an Emergency Response)

This level involves intense anger resulting in physical fights, destruction of property, display of extreme rage, and utilization of weapons to harm others. Any individual observing violent or threatening behavior that poses an immediate danger to persons or property should call for emergency assistance immediately. Remain calm, secure your personal safety first, and cooperate with law enforcement personnel. Witnesses should provide a description of the violent or threatening individual, details of what was observed, and the exact location of the incident. The supervisor will follow the procedures described in the Level Two section where needed.

It is crucial to prevent violence and respond accordingly to ensure the safety and security of employees and the workplace. Knowing the three levels of violence prevention can help identify and address potential or actual violent situations before they escalate, leading to a safer work environment.

What are the 4 types of workplace violence?
Workplace violence is a major concern for businesses of all sizes and industries. It can come from various sources and can manifest in different ways. However, understanding the different types of workplace violence is essential in preventing and addressing such incidents. Here are the four main types of workplace violence:

Type 1 – Criminal Intent

This type of workplace violence occurs when someone commits a crime, such as robbery, shoplifting, or trespassing. This perpetrator usually does not have any legitimate connection with the business or its employees. Workplace homicides are commonly associated with criminal intent. For instance, a cashier gets robbed by an armed person who entered a shop.

Type 2 – Client/Customer on Worker

Another common type of workplace violence transpires when a client or customer becomes violent towards an employee. It's characterized by verbal and physical assault as well as threatening behavior. This violence usually happens in businesses that offer services or involve financial transactions. Customer violence can emerge when disputes arise over products, services, or money. For example, a client attacks a bank teller over a transaction they claim was erroneous.

Type 3 – Worker on Worker

This type of violence arises when a co-worker turns on another co-worker, manager, or supervisor. This violence is often a result of a breakdown in workplace relationships and can range from verbal threats to physical assault. Competition, jealousy, and resentment are common causes of worker-on-worker violence. For example, a staff member assaults their manager after being denied a raise or promotion.

Type 4 – Personal/Domestic Relationship

This type of violence happens when an individual with a personal relationship with an employee, i.e., a former partner or spouse, enters the workplace and assaults the employee. It is often a result of domestic abuse. The victim may be an employee of the business, while the perpetrator is not. For example, a former partner assaults an employee after following them to their workplace.

By understanding and identifying the different types of workplace violence, businesses can develop effective workplace violence prevention programs and effective training should always address these types.


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