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Examples Of Workplace Violence And The Risk Involved In Condoning It

Workplace Violence

Workplace violence is a threat against workers and can occur in a typical workplace or informal workplaces. We already treated this topic in a previous article and we can’t seem to talk about it enough.

Example of Workplace Violence

Something happened close to where I went to school several years ago – but the memory still haunts me.

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Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Have An Idea

A building was being constructed; a three-storey affair that was supposed to be a hotel and cybercafé. It was serious engineering work contracted to a construction company and all that; I noticed it because there wasn’t a white man on site. The foreman was an Igbo man.

The work went smoothly and efficiently up until one of the workers got sick and couldn’t continue. Maybe due to pressure or some other reasons, he just asked for another labourer to be found, and that was when trouble started.

The guy they found was a troublemaker but he was allowed to work because he did his work well and frankly they were in a hurry. There were signs, but nobody paid any attention and by the time they did, it was too late.

Work was going on on the ceiling of the second floor when an argument broke out between the new guy and another worker. To cut a long story short, the troublemaker pushed the other guy off the building. The pushed died, the pusher disappeared and that was that.

They went on to finish the building – but it took much longer than they initially planned, and it was another set of labourers that finished the job. Everybody was depressed and unhappy. Can you imagine how much trouble – including a life loss – that would have been avoided had someone simply fired the troublemaker? Is the job worth more than a man’s life?

Workplace violence occur in informal workplaces

I’ve heard and I’m sure we’ve heard stories of bosses slapping their secretaries and subordinates and even drivers. Drivers do suffer a lot of abuse; it’s almost too easy to reach from the backseat and slap someone in front. How about the angry housewife who pours boiling water on the house-girl because she burnt the stew? The mechanic who beats his trainee with battery wires because he broke a spanner?

These stories are not rare occurrences – they happen around us daily. Do people abuse their workers because they think they (the workers) are inferior to them (the bosses), or is it because bosses seem to have a temper problem?

Workplace violence is more commonplace than we tend to think; we’re probably not too concerned because we tend to think about corporate circles and environments when we hear ‘workplace’.

And it’s not as though those particular  places do not have their own share.

Concerning the mechanics, I know there’s a union that interferes when two people fight. There’s a fine they pay and, depending on the severity of the assault, one or both of the fighters may be suspended. But the union does not interfere when a boss is dealing with his underling.

Double standards? Maybe.

How to protect yourself from violence

There should be a clause to protect workers from each other. Employment letters should stipulate clearly the consequences of fighting within the office during or after working hours. People should be made to understand that there’s a need to conduct themselves properly – and that there are consequences.

How about house-girls and so on?

I heard a ‘rumour’ (I say ‘rumour’ because I cannot remember exactly where I heard it from) sometime ago that the use of house helps was illegal according to some law just passed somewhere. If it’s true, who will enforce such law? Those who passed the law use house helps too.

In the case of ‘informal’ workplaces like mechanic workshops, tailor shops, the house and so on, I would think the Unions all these people have are designed to protect the interests of everybody under that particular trade, boss, underling and trainee. However, it would seem they’re only interested in collecting fines and monthly dues.

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Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days

Of course, all that is based on what I see. Not ‘research’.

But why are people violent in the workplace – why are people violent at all?

A lot of it has to do with psychology. Background, influence, society and so on play different roles in the mental build-up of an individual. While it is good to seek to help violent people, the smart thing to do is to move them away from the immediate environment – or move away from them.

The advice/suggestion I would give to anyone going through workplace violence, whether from a boss or colleague, is same as I would give in the case of domestic violence; if you’re not being protected by the appropriate channels, quit. Resign. Don’t wait till you become a statistic. Go now.

Workplace violence is very real, and the sooner we start to pay attention and do something – whatever we can – the better for the country as a whole.

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