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What Is Workplace Violence Training? Everything You Need To Know

Workplace violence training helps prepare your employees during any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other dangerous behavior that may occur at work. 

In addition to establishing a zero-tolerance policy or implementing a prevention program, we also recommend adopting custom training activities across a variety of workplace violence training topics, including:

  1. Active Shooter Preparedness
  2. Employee Harassment
  3. Armed Robbery Safety
  4. Handling Irate Customers

30% of employees feel ill-equipped to deal with violence in the workplace, whether it’s from threats and verbal abuse or possible physical assaults. 

Everyone has the right to feel safe at work, and that means being prepared for unexpected incidents of workplace violence. How can you prepare your employees to stay safe in the event of workplace violence? 

At Roundtable Learning, we partner with organizations across industries to help them reach their training goals through expertly designed training programs. We’ve helped organizations implement interactive, one-of-a-kind training that keeps their employees safe while on the job. 

This article will explain what workplace violence training is, why workplace violence training is important, and identify 4 common workplace violence training topics. 

What Is Workplace Violence Training?

Workplace violence training prepares employees to stay safe during any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other dangerous behavior that occurs at work. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace violence ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults. 

Examples of workplace violence include:

  • Verbal or written threats between coworkers

  • Irate customers in a retail space

  • A robbery with an armed perpetrator

  • Targeted sexual harassment or racial discrimination amongst employees

  • An active shooter in an office building

It’s an employer’s responsibility to assess their worksites, identify potential workplace hazards, and implement methods for reducing the likelihood of incidents occurring. There are several steps an organization can take to reduce workplace violence hazards, including establishing a zero-tolerance policy or implementing a prevention program. 

While these steps are necessary, it can be beneficial to also have your employees complete a comprehensive workplace violence training program. 

Why Is Workplace Violence Training Important?

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to workplace violence training, it’s critical that every organization has a workplace violence prevention plan tailored to its particular industry, culture, product, location, and more. 

Workplace violence training is important for the following 2 reasons:

  • Allows employees to develop skills and practice proper procedures if an event of workplace violence were to occur
  • Teaches employees how to defuse potentially dangerous situations at their workplace, keeping them self and others safe

Preparing for any type of workplace violence is critical to the health, safety, and well-being of employees, ultimately leading to a secure work environment that’s inclusive to everyone

4 Common Workplace Violence Training Topics

83% of employees feel safe from violence at work when they receive training on how to respond, proving the effectiveness of comprehensive workplace violence training. 

While workplace violence can occur in different ways, let’s break down 4 common workplace violence training topics and methods to train employees. 

1. Active Shooter Preparedness

Active shooter situations typically last 10 to 15 minutes before law enforcement arrives on the scene, so it’s critical that employees know how to stay safe in this situation if it were to occur. 

An effective method to train employees on how to handle an active shooter situation is the use of virtual reality (VR). Through an immersive active shooter VR activity, employees learn the following life-saving skills:

  • Build muscle memory on how to safely address the situation (e.g. gauge whether to Run, Hide, or Fight, locate the nearest exit, call authorities, etc.)
  • Practice making decisions in a high pressure environment without real-world risk (e.g. confronting the perpetrator, protecting them self and others, etc.)

As a precursor to the active shooter VR activity, learners could be assigned several eLearning modules that review their workplace’s policies if the event were to occur in real life. This helps to reinforce learners’ understanding of the event and review proper protocols before they begin the VR activity. 

2. Employee Harassment

Harassment is a form of workplace violence that discriminates against someone based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, and more. This type of misconduct can occur both verbally (e.g. making inappropriate comments about someone) and non-verbally (e.g. winking at someone). 

To avoid creating a hostile work environment as a result of harassment, your organization can implement a training program that sets the standard for acceptable behavior. This training teaches learners the following skills:

  • How to identify situations of employee harassment in real-time
  • How to report incidences of employee harassment
  • How to act as an ally for victims of harassment

As part of a blended learning program, immersive learning technologies elevate traditional employee harassment training by simulating uncomfortable conversations based on real-life situations. This way, employees can navigate their learning activity and learn from mistakes without worrying about offending others. 


As a way to reinforce concepts taught in the immersive learning activity, learners could be given a job aid after their program commences. This visual handout assists employees by summarizing important information from the training and serving as an on-demand tool if a learner were to have a question post-training. 

3. Armed Robbery Safety

An armed robbery is a heightened situation where employees must act quickly to alleviate the situation. By providing your employees with routine training, they can learn how to make decisions during an armed robbery scenario that keeps themself and others protected. 

With immersive VR, learners take on a first-person perspective of an armed robbery situation. Through 6 degrees of freedom (DoF), learners have a full view of their retail environment and must comply with the robber’s commands to de-escalate the situation. 

For example, when the robber pulls their gun out and demands the learner to put the money in the bag, the learner must make the following decisions:

  • Give the robber the money from the cash register
  • Get on the ground with their hands up
  • Whether or not to grab their phone
  • Look away from the robber



4. Handling Irate Customers

Sales and customer service teams have the difficult task of managing customers and keeping them happy. With workplace violence training for irate customers, retail employees can learn top-quality sales and customer service skills custom to your organization.

With custom training, employees can learn strategies to navigate confrontational customers. Training that utilizes extended reality technologies helps employees practice de-escalation tactics by simulating real-life experiences with customers. 

This immersive learning activity could be supported by gathering learners together in an instructor-led training (ILT) where they complete a role play with a coworker (one learner is the salesperson and the other is the customer). Learners first watch their instructors complete the activity, then complete it themself and receive feedback. 

This training helps employees learn how to make the right choices in high-stress situations without jeopardizing the reputation or sales process of their workplace. 

Are You Ready To Accomplish Your Workplace Violence Training Goals? 

This article has covered the basics of workplace violence training, from what it is to 4 common workplace violence training topics. We hope that by reading this article, you have a better understanding of the importance of workplace violence training in keeping your employees safe. 

Ready to explore more about workplace violence training and the ways a custom program could transform your existing training? Reach out to one of our experts today or check out our past projects


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