Sep 26, 2019

The Causes and Warning Signs of Workplace Violence

Workplace violence comes in many different forms, borne out of as many different causes. Stressed-out employees, staff members who aren’t feeling heard or cared about, angered former employees, conflict between co-workers, and so on can all lead to unwanted altercations.

Violence has made a significant impact on the workplace in America, accounting for close to 10 percent of all fatalities in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In order to prevent these issues from happening, it helps to understand what the causes are and what warning signs to be on the lookout for.

Lack of Pre-Employment Screening

Sometimes, employees who aren’t put through a diligent pre-employment screening process slip through the cracks, posing a threat to their fellow co-workers and office space from the state. Companies that do not conduct a thorough background screening run the risk of hiring someone who could be prone to violence or even has a violent past. Instead of opting for personality tests, or rely on them solely, companies should invest in thorough background checks to weed out potentially violent employees or those with anger issues.


While it should be a goal for every employee, every supervisor, and every business, not everyone is able to leave their personal life at home. Stress can cause an employee to lash out verbally or physically at any given moment, at anyone who comes across their path. Employees who are overworked and carry home life stress can create a hostile workplace for others around them and put others in harm’s way.

Not Supporting Employees

Employees put a lot of stock in where they work. At the same time, they want the company where they work to put stock in them. If employees aren’t feeling supported or heard, they may become angry or stressed. Most employees become violent when they feel no one is addressing or acknowledging their needs or concerns. By setting up an Employee Assistance Program employees can rely on an impartial party who they can go to discuss their stresses and possibly receive some sort of assistance or treatment.

Warning Signs and Solutions

From being laid-off or fired to current employees who have a grievance against a fellow co-worker, supervisor, or executive, there are many examples of disgruntled employees who become angry and plan on doing something about it. These issues, while not everyday occurrences, do play a role in the American workplace.

An angry employee might have a dip in their performance level or make threatening comments to another employee in person or on social media. There are many different ways in which someone can show they are primed to take matters into their own hands and resort to violence in some way. Workers may be reluctant to report any warning signs to superiors or department heads for fear of being targeted or may feel like someone who makes threats is just thinking out loud.

Whatever the case may be, all worksites should not take these warning signs for granted and encourage all employees to report any threats or signs of a violent co-worker. The best defense in this situation is a good offense, and offering a silent witness program or an open door policy to let supervisors or HR know of something alarming should be weaved into the fabric of any company.

Insuring Against Workplace Violence

The fact is, all companies, in all industries, are just as prone to workplace violence issues as others. Offices, schools, non-profits, construction sites, sports teams–it’s all the same. To protect against claims stemming from workplace violence, whether they’re threats, fights, or fatalities, companies can invest in workplace violence insurance.

If you’re a major corporation or tech startup or local community center, having this kind of coverage will help protect against claims. A nonprofit insurance program can be supplemented by this coverage, helping to financially supply for things like litigation, fees, and settlements. It’s important to encourage a safe and supported workplace, but it’s just as important to invest in the safety of everyone inside a company through effective workplace violence coverage.

About Tangram Insurance Services

Located across the Golden Gate Bridge, just outside of San Francisco, Tangram Insurance Services is a full-service Managing General Underwriter and Program Manager offering specialty programs. We focus on industry-relevant coverage, competitive pricing, and practical business and risk management solutions for your clients. Since we are not all things to all people, we make sure to create outstanding custom-built solutions that matter to those businesses, and the brokers who serve those industries. Contact us at (888) 744-9810.