CFAES Give Today

Ohio State University Extension


Workplace Violence for Trainers and Supervisors

Tailgate Safety Training for Landscaping and Horticultural Services
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Agricultural Safety and Health Program

Objective: Identify the types of workplace violence and recognize behaviors that might lead to workplace violence.

Trainer’s Note

Workplace violence can range from verbal abuse to murder. For this module:

  • Review the information below on:
    • Types of workplace violence.
    • Behaviors that can lead to it.
    • Ways to avoid it.
  • Ask workers to describe their own experiences with workplace violence.
  • Review the important points.
  • Have workers take the True/False quiz to check their learning.


Co-workers, supervisors, or visitors can commit workplace violence. Workers should know what behaviors might lead to violence. They should also know what to do if it occurs. And they should know that violence is not acceptable. Workers who commit a violent act in the workplace can lose their job or be arrested.

There are different types of workplace violence. A worker can be verbally abused or harassed. Or a worker can be physically assaulted or killed. Workplace violence is a leading cause of worker-related death in the country. Nearly two million workers are victims each year.

Types of Workplace Violence

  • Injuring someone with your fists, feet, or a weapon.
Criminal Mischief
  • Intentionally damaging someone’s property without permission. For example, damaging someone’s car.
Disorderly Conduct
  • Fighting.
  • Acting in a threatening manner.
  • Shouting abusively.
  • Disturbing others while they work.
  • Creating a dangerous condition in a way that is not legal.
  • Deliberately hitting, pushing, or kicking someone.
  • Threatening to do so.
  • Using abusive or obscene language.
  • Following someone in a public area.
  • Acting in a way that suggests potential harm or danger.
  • Stealing someone’s possessions without using force.
  • Victim present or not present.
  • Making someone feel that he or she is in danger of being hurt.
Reckless Endangerment
  • Acting in a way that puts others in danger.
  • For example, driving too fast in rush-hour traffic.
  • Using physical force to steal someone’s possessions.
  • Victim present during the theft.
Sex Offenses
  • Four general types:
    • Public lewdness
    • Sexual abuse
    • Sodomy
    • Rape
  • Laws are different from state to state.
  • Ask your employer for more information.

Ways to Avoid Workplace Violence

  • Tell your supervisor about any situation that could be a threat to you or other workers.
  • Ask your employer if safety education classes on workplace violence are offered.
  • Ask your employer for information (e.g., brochures, fact sheets, etc.).

Warning Signs of Potential Workplace Violence

  • A worker makes abusive or threatening remarks about co-workers or supervisors.
  • A worker shouts, throws objects, slams doors, or punches walls.
  • A worker is fascinated with guns, other weapons, or violence in general.

If Workplace Violence Occurs

  • If possible, leave the area at once.
  • Tell your supervisor if you or someone else is assaulted.
  • If you cannot find your supervisor, call 911 for help.

Review These Important Points

  • Workers should be aware of the different types of workplace violence.
  • Workers should know that workplace violence is not acceptable.
  • Ask your employer if information on workplace violence is available.
  • Always tell your supervisor if workplace violence occurs.
  • Workplace violence is one of the leading causes of worker-related death in the United States.

About These Modules
The author team for the training modules in the landscape and horticultural tailgate training series includes Dee Jepsen, Program Director, Agricultural Safety and Health, Ohio State University Extension; Michael Wonacott, Research Specialist, Vocational Education; Peter Ling, Greenhouse Specialist; and Thomas Bean, Agricultural Safety Specialist. Modules were developed with funding from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Grant Number 46E3-HT09.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the U.S. Department of Labor.

Answer Key

1. F

2. T

3. T

4. T

5. T


Quiz: Workplace Violence



True or False?

1. Verbal abuse is not considered a type of workplace violence.     T     F

2. Workplace violence is one of the leading causes of worker-related death in the United States.     T     F

3. Criminal mischief is intentionally causing harm to the property of another worker without permission.     T     F

4. Harassment can involve physical contact and verbal abuse.     T     F

5. Tell your supervisor about any situation that makes you afraid for your safety.     T     F

Originally posted Jun 11, 2018.