Liability for Workplace Violence Incidents
Although acts of workplace violence in Philadelphia are incidents that can end in tragedy, they are still workplace incidents where employees suffer an injury at the workplace. Because it is the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe and hazard-free environment for all employees, employers may be held liable for any injuries that employees sustain from these violent incidents.
The General Duty Clause of the Occupational Health and Safety Act grants employers the right to provide a safe and hazard-free working environment without hazards that can cause serious harm or death to employees. Under this clause, employees and family members of employees are able to file legal claims against employers.
Risk of Violence
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are certain factors that raise a Bustleton employee’s risk of experiencing workplace violence. These include:
- Performing work that involves contact with the public
- Performing work that involves the exchange of money
- Working alone or in small numbers
- Working late night or early morning hours
- Guarding valuables
- Having a mobile workplace or delivering goods, services, or passengers
- Working in community-based settings such as group homes
Occupations that encompass many of these factors and are considered high risk for workplace violence include:
- Jobs in healthcare and social services
- Work within correctional facilities including jails, prisons, and detention centers
- Late-night retail such as convenience stores, gas stations, and liquor stores
- Taxi driving and other types of delivery service
Preventing Workplace Violence
There are many steps South Philly employers can take to minimize the risk of workplace violence and improve security. OSHA safeguards against workplace violence include:
- Maintaining a zero-tolerance policy on workplace violence.
- Employee training on recognizing the warning signs of violence in current or former employees.
- Employee training on how to respond to threatening situations.
- Installing surveillance camera systems, alarm systems, and extra lighting.
- Securing access from outsiders with an identification badge system and guards.
- Making sure that employees do not travel alone to unsafe areas and providing escorts.
- Establishing a workplace emergency action plan for violent events.
- Asking local law enforcement to provide training sessions for employees on workplace violence.
- Keeping minimum amounts of cash on the premises