In the United States, there are now 22 different states that permit employees to bring guns to work and leave the guns in their cars in the office parking lot. North Carolina was one of the most recent states to approve these new gun laws, along with Tennessee and Missouri. According to WBUR, the loosening of gun laws in North Carolina and other states have left employers debating on what to do to ensure the safety of the workplace.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), almost two million Americans report victimization by workplace violence each year. There are likely many more cases of violence that are not reported and tallied.
Risks of Workplace Violence
A variety of different factors contribute to causing workplace violence. This includes:
- Working where alcohol is served.
- Working with volatile people.
- Working late at night.
- Working alone or in isolated areas.
- Working in locations with high crime rates.
- Working in a job that involves exchanging money with the public.
Although there is controversy regarding whether allowing people to bring guns to their workplace tends to reduce or enhance the risk of workplace violence, the Wall Street Journal reports that many employers are taking affirmative actions to try to minimize any potential dangers that exist.
Concerns about workplace safety need to be balanced with state rules protecting gun possession rights and some employers are having difficulty with this balancing act. Some companies have rewritten human resource policies and are providing better training to help detect early signs of aggression among employees. When workers are terminated, companies may also enhance security out of concerns that the firing may give rise to an act of violence.
Last year, there were a total of 375 workers killed in shootings on the job according to the Wall Street Journal. The Journal also discussed a 2005 study conducted in North Carolina and published in the American Journal of Public Health. The study revealed that “workplaces that allowed guns were about five times more likely to have a worker get killed on the job compared to workplaces that prohibited all kinds of weapons.”
WBUR also reports bad news about workplace deaths due to guns, indicating that the majority of the 700 workers killed in homicides on-the-job each year lose their lives to gun violence. Around a third of all employers responding to a 2012 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management said that violent incidents had occurred at work. When guns are more readily available, these violent incidents can escalate.
Of course, workplace violence can happen anywhere even under the best of circumstances and even when employers have policies in place designed to protect employees. When workplace violence occurs, workers’ compensation generally provides coverage to victims or their family members if an injury or fatality results from the violent acts.
Contact the North Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
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