WHAT IS WORKPLACE VIOLENCE AND WHO ARE AFFECTED?


 

Workplace violence is heard now almost daily from the physical workplace to the morning and evening news.  Although we would all like to dismiss this as something that would never happen to us, the fact is, we are all affected as it does invade our thought process like a run-away train.  We worry about us, our loved ones, and our children.  So what exactly is “Workplace Violence”?

Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide. It can affect and involve employees, clients, customers and visitors. Homicide is currently the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), of the 4,679 fatal workplace injuries that occurred in the United States in 2014, 403 were workplace homicides.  However it manifests itself, workplace violence is a major concern for employers and employees nationwide.

Who is at risk of workplace violence?

Nearly 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year. Unfortunately, many more cases go unreported. Research has identified factors that may increase the risk of violence for some workers at certain worksites. Such factors include exchanging money with the public and working with volatile, unstable people. Working alone or in isolated areas may also contribute to the potential for violence. Providing services and care, and working where alcohol is served may also impact the likelihood of violence. Additionally, time of day and location of work, such as working late at night or in areas with high crime rates, are also risk factors that should be considered when addressing issues of workplace violence. Among those with higher-risk are workers who exchange money with the public, delivery drivers, healthcare professionals, public service workers, customer service agents, law enforcement personnel, and those who work alone or in small groups.

How can workplace violence hazards be reduced?

In most workplaces where risk factors can be identified, the risk of assault can be prevented or minimized if employers take appropriate precautions. One of the best protections employers can offer their workers is to establish a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence. This policy should cover all workers, patients, clients, visitors, contractors, and anyone else who may come in contact with company personnel.

By assessing their worksites, employers can identify methods for reducing the likelihood of incidents occurring. OSHA believes that a well-written and implemented workplace violence prevention program, combined with engineering controls, administrative controls and training can reduce the incidence of workplace violence in both the private sector and federal workplaces.

This can be a separate workplace violence prevention program or can be incorporated into a safety and health program, employee handbook, or manual of standard operating procedures. It is critical to ensure that all workers know the policy and understand that all claims of workplace violence will be investigated and remedied promptly. In addition, OSHA encourages employers to develop additional methods as necessary to protect employees in high risk industries.  Here at T57, we teach these methods on how to possibly identify a current or impending threat.  An armed concealed Agent can also be implemented within the office to protect you and your employees in the event that an active shooter situation arises.  If you would like more information please reach out to us online at John J. Mesa: jmesa@temple57.com or  Chad Nevarez: cnevarez@temple57.com or call us at 866.489.3055 to make an appointment.

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