The Virginia Tech tradegy continues to raise awareness of the growing necessity to prevent workplace violence.  Shanti Atkins of the Harassment Training Blog outlines a Seven-Step Workplace Prevention Plan for employers.  Those steps include:

  1. Develop a Management Team to develop, review and implement policies regarding workplace violence;
  2. Implement an Education and Training Program;
  3. Increase Security Measures;
  4. Develop a Response Procedure;
  5. Use Judicial Resources;
  6. Prescreening and Consistent Enforcement of Workplace Policies;
  7. Establish Clear Communication Channels.

Perhaps the best advice from the blog post is to take threats of violence seriously.  Shanti says that you should not assume that an employee is just venting or blowing off steam.  Employers should take steps to investigate complaints promptly and take disciplinary action if warranted.  Reporting employees should also be assured they will not be retaliated against for making such complaints.   

It is all too easy to believe that it will not happen to you.  Some employers may not even have a policy concerning workplace violence.  Employers would do well to develop such a policy and re-examine those procedures on a yearly basis.