Warning Signs of Workplace Violence

Identify behavioral and physical signs

Adapted from: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Violence in the workplace warning signs. 2014.

Behavioral Signs

  • Crying, sulking, outbursts
  • Frequent lateness or absenteeism
  • Poor work quality, denial or work performance problems
  • Belief that he or she is always correct
  • Poor handling of criticism
  • Blaming others for errors
  • Testing limits
  • Use of curses and/or other inappropriate communication
  • Difficulty with concentration and recall
  • Social isolation, complaints of unfair treatment
  • Hyperfocus on problems, without resolving them

Physical Signs

  • Flushing, pallor, sweating
  • Tired appearance
  • Clenched muscles (e.g., fists)
  • Making violent gestures
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Scowling, sneering, glaring
  • Avoidance of eye contact
  • Restless or repetitive movements (e.g., pacing)
  • Shaking, trembling
  • Vocal changes
  • Chanting or speaking loudly
  • Invading the personal space of others


  1. Violence and Harassment in the Workplace - Warning Signs: OSH Answers. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/violence_warning_signs.html. Published December 16, 2022. Accessed February 7, 2023