We would like to make you aware of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration's (OSHA) website on Workplace Violence. This site will assist you in developing anti-violence in the workplace prevention programs and provides plenty of information on this growing problem.
Our North Carolina workers' compensation lawyers in Greensboro think it is tragic that in 2010 there were more than 500 workplace homicides nationwide. Every employer has the responsibility to provide their workers with a safe place to do their job.
How does OSHA define workplace violence?
It is any threat or act of physical harm, intimidation, harassment or other menacing unruly behavior that happens at your place of employment. Acts and threats can run the gamut from verbal abuse to physical violence to even homicide. It can not only affect workers but customers, visitors and clients can also be involved.
Currently in the United States, homicide is the fourth leading cause of deadly occupational injuries. In a report recently released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on fatal occupational injuries, over 4,500 workers lost their lives on the job in 2010 and 506 were from homicides. It is shocking that the leading cause of death for women at work is homicides. This is a serious issue and should be a legitimate concern to all workers and employers.
Who is in danger of encountering an act of workplace violence?
It is staggering that almost 2 million workers each year in the U.S. report being the victims of violence in the workplace. Who knows how many cases go unreported. Anyone at anytime and anywhere can become a victim. Researchers have identified factors that could raise the risk of harm for some employees at certain workplaces. These factors include:
-Any job that requires the exchanging of money with the public.
-Anyone that comes into contact with unstable or volatile people.
-Anyone that works alone, works late at night, works in high crime areas or in isolated areas.
-Any job that provides care to others.
-Any job that puts you in a location where alcohol is served.
Occupations that are at a higher risk of encountering a violent act are police officers, healthcare professionals, delivery drivers, customer and public service workers and anyone who works alone or who works in small groups.
How can employers decrease the risk of workplace violence hazards?
In most places of employment where violence hazards can be recognized, the risk of a physical attack can be avoided or minimized if employers take suitable precautions. Employers that establish a zero-tolerance policy toward violence in the workplace creates a very effective means of protecting their workers. This policy should cover anyone that comes into contact with company workers.
Companies that have a well-written and thought-out Workplace Violence Prevention Program are on the right track for reducing violence hazards. It is vital that all employees know the policy and realize that claims of workplace violence will be taken seriously and dealt with swiftly.