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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives


     Indian Health Manual
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Circular Exhibit 03-01-G


WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

Contributing factors to a violent workplace situation may include an employee’s history of violence or recent experience of multiple life stressors (e.g., divorce, death in family, financial problems, etc.).

  1. Identifying Behaviors.If a person exhibits the following behaviors, a violent situation may potentially occur:

    1. Talks and complains loudly.

    2. Demands unnecessary services.

    3. States he/she is going to lose control or is losing control.

    4. Paces rapidly.

    5. Appears tense and angry.

    6. Challenges authority.

    7. Appears intoxicated.

    8. Physical characteristics indicating potential violence:

    1. Flushed face

    2. Sweating

    3. Twitching face and/or lips

    4. Shallow breathing

    5. Head down

    6. Furrowed eyebrows

  2. Recommendations for Reducing Risk.  Following are a number of recommendations to reduce the risk when a person turns violent:

    1. Do not argue with or provoke the hostile person.

    2. Avoid staring, though some eye contact may be advisable.

    3. Keep out of the person's personal space.

    4. Maintain a relaxed, attentive posture.

    5. Keep at least two to three arm lengths away, and do not get backed into a comer.

    6. Leave the room to escape.

    7. Do not approach with hands on hips, arms crossed, or with any other defiant posture.

    8. Acknowledge the person's feelings, and show a desire to help.

    9. Mention personal information (spouse, children's names, etc.) that conveys to the person you are an individual with a private life and not (just) an employee or representative of the organization.

    10. Move and speak slowly.

    11. Permit verbal venting when possible.

    12. Try to notify security, the Designated Official, law enforcement officials, or other members of your staff for assistance.

    13. Do not attempt to subdue the person.

    14. Do not attempt to physically restrain the person from leaving his station.

    15. No person or group should be used to calm any disturbance when it might place them in danger of physical harm or jeopardize normal relationships with fellow personnel.

    16. Clerical staff will see to the safety of essential records, without jeopardizing their own physical well-being.

  3. Dealing with Person(s) Who Have Taken Chemicals Internally (Drugs or Alcohol).

    1. Notify the Designated Official or Building Emergency Coordinator, if needed, of any suspected drugs in the building, or any information you might have concerning the bringing of drugs into the building.

    2. In the case of an incoherent or unconscious person, render first aid where necessary.  Ensure the Designated Official and Building Emergency Coordinator are notified.

    3. Do NOT attempt to move the person.

    4. Seek assistance to clear other people from the area.

    5. Retain any pills or drugs that you find for identification.

    6. Offer any information you might have concerning where and when the pills or drugs were found and who had the suspected drugs.

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