According to OSHA, approximately 2 million American workers are victims of workplace violence each year. Workplace violence is a growing concern for employers and employees nationwide. Employers who do not take reasonable steps to prevent workplace violence and abate a recognized violence hazard can be cited and may also be legally liable to a worker injured as a result of workplace violence.
What is Workplace Violence?
Workplace violence is violence or the threat of violence against workers. It can occur at or outside the workplace and can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even death.
How Can Employers Help Protect Their Workers?
The best protection employers can offer is to establish a “zero-tolerance” policy on workplace violence against or by their employees. Employers should establish a workplace violence protection program and incorporate the information into an existing handbook or manual of operating procedures. It is critical to ensure that all employees know the policy and understand that all claims of workplace violence will be investigated and addressed accordingly.
Training and Education
Also, employers can provide safety education for employees to make clear what conduct is not acceptable in the workplace and what to do if they witness or are subjected to workplace violence. It is important for employees to know how to protect themselves and where to go for help.
Employees should be educated on how to recognize, avoid or diffuse potentially violent situations through personal safety training programs. Employees should also understand that they should alert their supervisor to any concerns about safety or security and to report all incidents immediately.
Employers should be proactive and fully informed regarding the full extent of their duty to provide a safe and healthful workplace for all workers. Ancel Glink’s team of labor and employment attorneys can assist in developing workplace violence prevention programs to ensure your workplace is in compliance with the applicable legal requirements.