According to state authorities, a man shot and killed three of his fellow workers at the McBride Lumber Co. work site in North Carolina. After taking the lives of three of his co-workers, the angry employee died of a subsequent self-inflicted wound (a gunshot wound to the head), according to CBS News. Police officers report the man was disgruntled, but reports didn’t indicate why he was upset. There were 16 workers on the job that day.
Recently, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) discussed the commonality of workplace violence in North Carolina and elsewhere. Workplace violence is defined as any threat or act of physical violence, intimidation, harassment or any other type of threatening disruptive behavior that happens at work. These types of incidents can range from verbal abuse to physical abuse to homicide.
Our Charlotte workers compensation lawyers understand that homicide is the fourth-leading cause of fatal on-the-job injuries in the U.S. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that of the more than 4,500 people who died on the job in 2010, more than 500 of the fatalities were the result of workplace homicides. Homicide is the number one cause of death among working women in the U.S.
In the workplace, these types of risks and dangers are supposed to be prevented and/or minimized by employers. Employers are required by law to take all of the necessary safety precautions to reduce the risks of work-related injuries and fatalities. One of the best ways for an employer to reduce the risks of on-the-job work violence and homicides is to enact a zero-tolerance policy. This policy should extend to cover more than workers. It should also cover contractors, visitors, clients and patients as well.
Employers are urged to frequently assess work sites. By looking at work conditions often, employers can identify ways to reduce the chances of violent acts occurring. OSHA provides a number of example work-related violence prevention programs for employers in a wide range of industries to implement on the job. These documents can be used as references to provide guidance for evaluating and controlling violence in the workplace.
According to OSHA, a thorough, well written and implemented Workplace Violence Prevention Program, along with the proper administrating controls, engineering controls and training, can help to reduce the likelihood of a workplace violence incident in all types of work industries.
Workers are asked to speak up if feeling intimidated or in danger on the job. Employees have rights that must be met on all job sites. There is no excuse for workplace violence and employers are required to minimize the risks of such devastating work incidents.
Contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. if you or a loved one has been injured by work-related violence or need to file a workers’ compensation or disability claim. We offer free consultations to those who have been injured on-the-job in North and South Carolina. Call 1-800-887-1965 to discuss your case today.
More Blog Entries:
Urging Employers to Enforce Prevention Programs to Reduce Risks of Work-Related Accidents in Rock Hill and Elsewhere, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, January 14, 2012
Unemployment Rates Dropping, Risks of Carolina Work-Related Accidents Increasing, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, January 8, 2012