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Proper Training Can Help Your Business Mitigate Physical Conflict Risk

scene at a crowded bar

If you own a public establishment such as a restaurant, bar or nightclub, unfortunately you may face the issue of a physical conflict somewhere on premises. Whether between patrons, staff, or each other, a heated situation might escalate beyond words. As the business owner, it is your duty to do your best to protect the health and safety of everyone on the premises.

One way you can potentially reduce the risk of something escalating to a physical harm situation is proper dispute resolution and conflict intervention training.

Snapp & Associates consistently works with its clients to refer and recommend risk mitigation services and has been assisting with client education, training and assistance programs for years. Recently, the firm has set several different hospitality clients up with Conflict Defense for on-site training.

Conflict Defense is one of many providers in this sector, helping to limit liability and protect employees and patrons. This company offers conflict de-escalation and intervention tactics designed to take heated interactions down a notch.

Why should you look at potential conflict training for your business? Beyond the opportunity to protect patrons and staff, it can also help protect from lawsuits and worker compensation claims — If you can stop a physical altercation before it begins, you are helping to shield your business from financial and legal ramifications.

While some businesses may be unsure about investing in the cost for one-time or ongoing training, that investment can help prevent further costs down the road such as attorney fees, legal judgements, workers compensation claims or medical expenses that might arise if your staff member is to end up in a physical confrontation.

Conflict de-escalation training usually encompasses a few key areas that can become difficult to manage in the heat of the moment:

  • Remaining calm when things change quickly
  • Assessing the situation and parties involved
  • Determining specific areas of conflict (verbal fight, claim of harassment, etc.)
  • Language and physical skills to de-escalate agitation
  • Safe methods for separating parties and removal if necessary

Training sessions are typically led by an experienced moderator with background in self defense, crowd control, weapons training and more. During the sessions, moderators may walk through the different parts of a conflict process, illustrating how and when a verbal altercation tends to tip into a physical one.

Most importantly, these hands-on training sessions give staff the opportunity to practice potential real-world situations in their actual workplace setting with a moderator providing guidance and feedback after each scenario. While it is helpful to read about de-escalation tactics, attempting to practice them in person, in your familiar environment, gives you a sense of empowerment and familiarity should employees need to use them.

Since each individual business has a unique setup, floor plan and access points, an on-site moderator can also work with your team to map out a specific plan should you ever need to remove a guest or even empty an entire facility quickly. For example, an on-site evaluation could determine that the best course of action would be for staff to divide a space and lead guests out of a side or back entrance while some go out the front instead of everyone trying to exit the same way.

Spending some time and money now to set up a conflict de-escalation plan and training will create a safer environment for all and show your employees you are invested in their well-being and participation in operations — a win-win for all.

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