R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Potential signs of violence in the workplace

Workplace violence is a very real concern for workers in Houston and all over the nation. While it can often be impossible to predict workplace violence, incidents are sometimes preceded by certain warning signs. Being able to recognize these signs will allow both management personnel and other employees to address the issue before tragedy strikes.

The Huffington Post lists some possible indicators of impending workplace violence, including habits that most others would construe as unhealthy. This can include substance abuse (of either drugs or alcohol), abnormal sleeping patterns and drastic weight gain or loss. Additionally, a potentially violent worker might also be considered odd by others. This is normally due to a lack of social skills or an inability to relate to other people. As a result, other workers will make every attempt to stay away.

Paranoia can also be an indicator of a possibly violent individual. This can be evident in a belief in conspiracy theories, or just the general concern that other people are out to get them. Violent people also tend to have issues keeping anger in check, which can lead to lashing out over seemingly unimportant matters.

The U.S. Department of Labor also recommends that workers are able to recognize the levels of escalating violence. Early warning signs include verbal abuse and/or a bullying nature. From there the person may escalate his or her behavior to actively arguing with both customers as well as fellow workers, issuing threatening messages via email or other methods, and refusing to follow company rules or policies. Later levels of violence typically feature real threats of violence (even against the perpetrator themselves via threats of suicide), destruction of company property, and brandishing weapons. In this case, law enforcement should be notified immediately, and workers should follow the recommended policies for issues related to workplace violence.  

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