What is workplace Violence? Workplace violence has become a major concern for employers and employees nationwide. The definition of workplace violence is violence or threat of violence against workers. It can range from threats or verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide at or outside the workplace. It is also one the leading causes of job-related deaths.
Who is Vulnerable? Some 2 million American workers are victims of workplace violence each year. Workplace violence can strike anywhere, and no one is immune. Some workers, however, are at increased risk. Among them are workers who exchange money with the public; deliver passengers, goods, or services; or work alone or in small groups, during late night or early morning hours, in high-crime areas, or in community settings and homes where they have extensive contact with the public. This group includes health-care and social service workers such as visiting nurses, psychiatric evaluators, and probation officers; community workers such as gas and water utility employees, phone and cable TV installers, and letter carriers; retail workers; and taxi drivers.
What can Employers do to help protect their employees? The best protection employers can offer is to establish a zero tolerance policy toward workplace violence against or by their employees. In addition employers can offer additional protections such as:
- Provide safety education for employees.
- Secure the work place
- Equip staff with cell phones or hand held alarm or noise devices.
- Instruct employees not to enter any location where they feel unsafe.
Nothing can guarantee that an employee will not become a victim of workplace violence. These steps can however help reduce the odds.