Step 3 – Developing the program components

The Five Steps to Building your Workplace Violence Program

Step 3 – Developing the program components

To ensure a comprehensive program, organizations must design a Workplace Violence Prevention Program that consists of a workplace violence prevention policy and a program that includes; reporting, response and investigation procedures; environmental control procedures; work practice and administrative control procedures.2

The Prevention, Protection, and Post-incident Response (the 3 P’s) conceptual model was adapted from risk management practices (Wiskow, 2003) that are widely accepted and used in the occupational health and safety industry.
To adequately address workplace violence aggression, and responsive behaviour, organizations should take a three-pronged, cyclical approach: Prevention, Protection, and Post-incident Response (the 3 P’s). Wherever possible, the emphasis should be on implementing measures to prevent the workplace violent event. Organizational culture may affect the success of each prong.4

Sample policies can be found below:

Prevention involves strategies undertaken prior to an incident to deter the onset of workplace violence. Four important stages include:
1. Recognizing risks;
2. Assess existing precautions and prioritizing risk;
3. Controlling and communicating risk;
4. Evaluating and refining the action plan, i.e., R.A.C.E. information gathered in Step 2 complete the first 2 stages of Recognition and Assess. This information should be used to develop the measures and procedures to Control the hazards identified.4

Resources for “preventing” injuries may include:

Procedures to control Administrative and Work Practice hazards such as:


Protection focuses on strategies undertaken during an incident to manage workplace violence and limit the extent of harm.

  • Activities may include:
    • Early identification of violent, aggressive, or responsive behaviour;
    • De-escalation and diffusion techniques;
    • Avoiding physical contact where possible;
    • Protocols for managing individual behaviours;
    • Use of coded requests for help;
    • Crisis management training;
    • Prompt and appropriate attention by managers;
    • Mobilization of resources and security measures; and
    • Keeping safety a priority.4

Resources for “protecting” workers may include:


Post-incident Response strategies are undertaken after an incident has occurred to reduce long-term negative effects on the victim(s), other people involved, and the workplace following the incident.

  • Suggested post-incident responses cover the following:
    • Assistance and support for victims;
    • Information-sharing and team debriefing;
    • Reporting procedures, and workplace investigations to prevent recurrence.4

Resources for “post incident response” may include:

  • Systematic Approach to Post Incident Follow Up – RCA, incident Debriefing- including steps taken to prevent a recurrence – PSHSA Fast Fact – How to Investigate an Incident
  • Victim assistance and support (Incident and treatment options such as EAP, in house resources, or peer counselling).

2. PSHSA – A guide to the Development of a Workplace Violence Prevention Program: Implementing the Program in your Workplace;
Guidelines on Workplace Violence in the Health Sector. Comparison of major known national guidelines and strategies: United Kingdom, Australia, Swede, USA (OSHA and California) Written by Christiane Wiskow (2003) for International Labour Office, International Council of Nurses, World Health Organization, Public Services International.