Employees in a variety of occupations can find themselves in situations with the potential to become violent at work. De-escalation tactics can be used to defuse volatile situations so they don’t reach the point of violence.
What is de-escalation?
De-escalation is one technique that can be used when confronted with violent or aggressive behavior.
According to professionals, de-escalation means “transferring your sense of calm and genuine interest in what an individual wants to tell you by using respectful, clear, limit-setting boundaries.” In short, de-escalation is the process of managing someone else’s behavior with your own.
How does the concept of de-escalation intersect with workplace safety?
As workplace violence remains a continuously growing threat, many industries are beginning to utilize the benefits of de-escalation training.
These industries include:
- Education/academic settings
- Health care
- Policing/public service
- Social work
Are there some general de-escalation tactics that apply universally?
While specific threats vary among industries, Jason Clausen, a Loss Prevention Specialist at SFM, notes that many de-escalation tactics apply universally.
“These tactics all require a state of calm, and operate around the cornerstone of active listening,” he said.
General de-escalation tactics that apply universally include:
- Respecting personal space
- Maintaining safe body positioning
- Giving clear, concise direction
- Setting obvious boundaries
- Conveying empathy
- Establishing positive tone of voice
De-escalation training can be helpful to employees in many fields. To learn more about de-escalation, see these SFM resources:
- De-escalation Team Training - health care
- De-escalation Team Training - schools
- Alternative intervention & de-escalation tactics, 5-Minute Solutions safety talk
- Home health care: Violence prevention in the home, 5-Minute Solutions safety talk
We also plan to release more resources on this important topic in the coming months.