How do most acts of violence in the workplace occur?

Author: Julie H. Cox

Stressors that increase an individual's tension and emotional strain contribute to the likelihood of that person committing an act of violence in the workplace. These stressors include family or marital problems, health or mental problems, loss of financial security or family members, and stress related to the job or workplace. An individual who feels out of control may strike out against those causing the stress, but also against innocent bystanders.

Another contributor is an individual's personality traits and behavior. Someone who uses drugs or abuses alcohol, has a history of violent behavior at home or within the community, or who has a problem dealing with people in a normal manner are more likely to commit violent acts at work. Individuals who behave in a bullying or intimidating manner, have conflicts with co-workers or show extreme changes in behavior are also more at risk for becoming violent. Employers, including employees, should be encouraged to report and document threatening behavior of any kind.