The Society for Human Resource Management reports that more than half (57 percent) of HR professionals are somewhat or very concerned about workplace violence, according to the SHRM Workplace Violence Survey.

Compared to a similar survey done by SHRM in 1996, the number of respondents reporting they conduct criminal background checks has increased by 29 percent. Eighty percent of HR pros now say they conduct such checks and 35 percent conduct credit checks to screen potential employees, an increase of 16 percent from 1996. Eighty-two percent of HR pros report their organizations investigate the background of potential employees. This is up from 66 percent in 1996.

The majority (60 percent) of organizations look to their HR department to develop workplace violence prevention programs.

Although most HR professionals reported no change in the number of violent incidents in the workplace, 12 percent did report an increase.

Most incidents of workplace violence involve vulgar language or verbal abuse, and the majority (more than 70 percent of reports) occur between employees.

More than 60 percent of HR pros say their organizations have written policies regarding weapons in the workplace, reporting incidents or threats of workplace violence and addressing violent acts in the workplace when they occur.