Dealing with the threat of workplace violence

OSHA defines workplace violence as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” This may include anything from a minor altercation between coworkers to an active shooter situation involving an unknown perpetrator. Employees, customers and visitors of your business can all be affected.

Nearly two million Americans report having experienced workplace violence each year, according to OSHA, and many cases go unreported. Physical violence is an unfortunate threat that all industries and occupations must prepare for.

Have a plan to help protect yourself and your employees

Establish a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence that applies to all workers, clients, visitors, contractors and anyone else who may come in contact with company personnel. This is one of the best protections that employers can implement. It lets everyone know that all claims of violence will be investigated and dealt with promptly.

Identify environmental risks and take common-sense steps to lessen them. For example, do your employees work at night or in isolated areas? If so, you may want to have them work in pairs or teams.

Add engineering controls and create safe behavior policies. For instance, you may create more accessible exits or require employee identification to enter certain areas of your facility.

Provide training. Your employees should know how to identify a dangerous situation and the best ways to respond. They also need to know how to report risks or incidents of violence. A thorough workplace violence prevention program can help. This can be a separate program, part of a safety program or a section in your employee manual of operating procedures. Click here for a resource provided by Summit to help create a violence prevention program.

OSHA resources

Click here for an overview and links to training and prevention resources.

Click here for additional information for employers, including what to do following a workplace-violence incident.

Online safety training videos for policyholders

Our policyholders and agents have access to an extensive library of online safety training videos and supplemental materials. For videos dealing with violence in the workplace, go to and enter your username and password. Select Browse Topics and click on Workplace Safety and Workplace Violence. Also, click here to view our recommended video, To the Point About: Responding to Violent Behavior or an Active Shooter. Policyholders and agents can request login credentials by emailing (Videos provided through Long Island Productions, Inc., dba Training Network NOW, a Summit vendor)

Please contact your Summit loss prevention consultant if you have any questions.


The information presented in this publication is intended to provide guidance and is not intended as a legal interpretation of any federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations applicable to your business. The loss prevention information provided is intended only to assist policyholders of Summit managed insurers in the management of potential loss producing conditions involving their premises and/or operations based on generally accepted safe practices. In providing such information, Summit Consulting LLC does not warrant that all potential hazards or conditions have been evaluated or can be controlled. It is not intended as an offer to write insurance for such conditions or exposures. The liability of Summit Consulting LLC and its managed insurers is limited to the terms, limits and conditions of the insurance policies underwritten by any of them.