Safety in the Workplace

Research shows that many Cooperative Extension employees are worried about safety in the workplace. Whether it is in our offices, cars or on the road coming home from late-night meetings, keeping safe should be a concern for every employee. This page provides links to important information and a set of helpful hints developed by Cooperative Extension workers to make our jobs and work environments safer.

True/False test on workplace violence

Test yourself on the following questions. Answers and statistics are supplied at the bottom.

  1. Violent people engage only in physical attacks or threatening or harassing behavior. True or False?
  2. In 1993, workplace homicide was the second leading killer of employees on-the-job. True or False?
  3. Violent perpetrators almost always fit a profile. True or False?
  4. Potential job loss or actual job termination is the leading cause of workplace violence in on-the-job homicide. True or False?
  5. Angry people are born angry and shouldn’t be hired in the first place. True or False?
  6. Disgruntled employees who become violent often have job-performance related problems. True or False?
  7. Mental disorders or psychological problems are a much larger problem in violent behaviors than drug or alcohol abuse. True or False?
  8. Revenge against specific individuals is almost always a motivation for workplace violence. True or False?
  9. A terminated employee who is likely to commit an act of violence almost always will do so within one or two months. True or False?
  10. The most likely source of workplace violence is from co-workers. True or False?
  11. We can reduce workplace violence from clients by giving quality and timely service. True or False?
  12. One out of four employees is the victim of harassment, threats or physical attacks. True or False?

Answers to these questions and statistics to support the answers.

Hints for How to Make our Workplaces Safer

These hints came from a discussion with Extension workers about workplace safety at the February, 1997, Orientation Session. They were all suggested by attendees at that session.

Hints to prevent and deal with violence in the office

  • Talk about this as office staff and develop guidelines that work in your specific situation.
  • Survey the environment for hazards and escape routes.
  • Have area’s well-lighted.
  • Build barriers in entrance space to prevent or delay intrusion.
  • Meet customers/clients in a setting where others can monitor the meeting for violent behavior or hear your call for help.
  • Position yourself nearer to the exit than the visitor.
  • Have more than one escape route, if possible.
  • Distract person and escape or have someone get help.
  • Develop a system of ways to signal for help.
  • Have emergency numbers posted at everyone’s phone or program 911 into phones.
  • Don’t hesitate to call the police.
  • Be attentive and keep others in the office posted if you see or hear anything threatening.
  • Avoid working alone.
  • If you have to be alone, keep doors locked.
  • Listen to your own instincts about staying safe.

Hints for staying safe in the field

  • Talk about this as office staff and develop guidelines that work in your specific situation.
  • Have cellular phones or hand-held walkie-talkies.
  • Team up when possible.
  • Let office/others know where you are and when you’ll be back or check-in, and CHECK-IN.
  • Keep car doors locked when traveling/any time you’re in your car
  • Carry emergency equipment, i.e. flashlight, blanket, warm clothing.
  • Keep the vehicle in good running condition/have ample gas.
  • Have personal i.d./maps
  • Have the correct key in hand and ready for use when you leave or approach your car.
  • Park car for a quick escape.
  • Lock doors when leaving the car.
  • Dress safely as well as professionally.
  • Carry dog biscuits/cookies.