A job to die for? For some unlucky workers, simply going to work costs them their lives. Consider this statement found on the Occupational Safety & Health Administration's Web site: "Workplace murder is the leading killer of working females, and the second leading killer of males. For each murder, there are countless other incidents of workplace violence in which the victim is harassed, threatened or injured, sometimes seriously." And it's not only taxi drivers, 7-11 clerks or postal employees who have to worry. Workplace violence can break out anywhere, the DC included. Just last August, six workers were killed in a shooting spree in an auto parts warehouse in Chicago.
Though it's not always true, many times causes of workplace violence are within the employer's control. As a manager, you must be conscientious about ensuring your staff 's physical and mental safety.
1. Physical safety: Keeping employees safe from physical harm involves much more than teaching laborers not to lift with their backs. Here are some other steps you can take:
2. Mental safety: Are harassment and abusive language a problem in your workplace? Even if they haven't risen to illegal levels, they'll still be a drain on employee productivity. Every good manager wants employees' minds on their jobs, not on distracting comments from co-workers.
Develop policies and procedures for dealing with conflicts that arise not just between supervisors and their direct reports but among coworkers as well. Even when no clear solution exists, oftentimes just letting each person air his or her grievances can improve the situation. But do deal with it. If a staff member feels strongly enough to initiate a discussion with you, you owe it to that person to treat him or her with respect, validate his or her concerns and investigate the situation. Don't have time for such trivial matters? Find it. Effective resolution of conflicts like these goes a long way toward maintaining your department's efficiency and effectiveness and toward keeping everybody safe.