How to Spot a Violent Person On the Job

Nationwide Temporaries

Sadly, we live in a world of workplace violence and where “if you see something, say something” applies all too often.

Employees should never be expected to shoulder the responsibility of identifying would-be violent offenders before they act. However, paying attention to those around you is a responsible and smart thing to do.

Psychological research tells us there is a certain profile to people who commit acts of workplace violence. Executives, managers and employees should know the aspect of this profile and seek professional assistance if someone in their organization appears to be spiraling out of control.

Consider the following signs:

Abnormal paranoia

We all have days where we feel like “the world is against us” and nothing seems to go our way: Maybe the boss disciplined you for a mistake, a co-worker’s joke went too far, and your office printer says ‘PAPER JAM’ when there is no paper jam.

The problem comes when a woe-is-me attitude turns pathological. If a worker seriously thinks their manager sabotaged the office printer just to make their life miserable, you should be concerned.

An odd personality

As with paranoid thoughts, there’s a fine line between a what’s a benign personality and a dangerous one.

Workplaces are filled with quirky people. Some of them might enjoy true crime shows or regularly play violent video games and never even have a single thought about physically attacking another person. And, just because someone doesn’t feel comfortable going out for drinks after work doesn’t mean they are a risk.

The odd personality to look out for is one where the person actively isolates themselves by lashing out at others, themselves or the things around them.

A checkered past

Workplace violence typically doesn’t come from someone whose has a steady career. Instead, it’s more likely to come from someone who has had trouble fitting into normal, productive society.

An unhealthy lifestyle

Someone who doesn’t respect themselves with a healthy lifestyle is less likely to respect others. People who drink heavily, use drugs regularly and subsist of mostly junk food could be less stable than those who eat right and take care of their body.

Constant anger

Everybody is entitled to the occasional bad mood. However, if you feel like you have to constantly walk on eggshells around someone or risk becoming a target of their anger, you need to bring the situation to someone’s attention.

Casual references to violence

Violent people deal in the language of violence. They talk about it like they are talking about the weather. If someone is always reveling in the latest shooting on the news or talking about violence in their life outside of work, you should be concerned.

At Nationwide Temporaries, we take workplace safety extremely seriously and work diligently with our clients to address any potentially dangerous situations that might arise. If your organization is currently looking for a staffing partner, please contact us today.


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