Many public and private sector organizations have never had the occasion to turn their minds to how a mental health expert might assist in evaluating the risk for violence and in preventing violence in a workplace setting. A number of highly publicized tragic workplace events occurring in recent years, however, has quickly informed organizations of the depth and scope of the problem, and of its cost to them, measured in terms of claims paid out, lost productivity, adverse media, and poor morale.

Companies and other organizations are bound by either health and safety legislation, or by their due diligence obligation at common law, or both, to ensure that workers are not only safeguarded from industrial accidents and typical workplace hazards, but from the variety of inappropriate and aggressive behaviour that can and has occurred in the workplace in recent times.

Organizations are more inclined to concentrate the investigation on the “problem” employee, and while the obvious importance of this is not to be denied, exclusive focus on the employee fails to take hold of an opportunity to evaluate the organization’s contribution to the workplace violence problem - what is it about the organization and workplace environment that either fosters or fails to prevent a violent occurrence?

The WRA-20 is a risk appraisal instrument that was designed to assist organizations in evaluating risk factors intrinsic to their workplace environment. The WRA-20 not only quantifies an organization’s risk for a violent occurrence on its premises, but through the focused evaluative exercise, allows for the implementation of procedures and other interventions that may reduce any identified risk.

The WRA-20 was designed for use by human resources professionals, managers, security, corporate health, union officials and workplace consultants.

The WRA-20 is not merely a checklist. It is intended to foster creative and frank discussion amongst the various stakeholders, all of whom have an interest in belonging to and participating in safe organizations.

We believe that the WRA-20 approach not only assists in arriving at a solution to problems identified in the working environment, but perhaps most importantly, it provides a motivational framework within which the key stakeholders in the workplace violence program can contribute their wisdom and experience towards avoiding a potentially serious and even life-threatening event.



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