Workplace violence affects an estimated two million workers every year. Workplace violence can take many forms including verbal abuse, physical attacks, and even homicide. In some industries like healthcare, it is the third leading cause of death. While some workers are at a higher risk than others for workplace violence, it can happen anywhere.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are certain factors that raise an employee’s risk of experiencing workplace violence. These include:
Occupations that encompass many of these factors and are considered high risk for workplace violence include:
Workplace violence can be divided into four categories of perpetrators:
There are many steps employers can take to minimize the risk of workplace violence and improve security. OSHA safeguards against workplace violence include:
Experts say that it is rare that someone just snaps and commits an act of workplace violence out of the blue. It is more likely that an employee’s anger builds slowly over time and leads to a violent event. Along the way there may be warning signs. No one can predict if one or any of these signs is a sure indication that a person will turn to violence as a result, but managers and their teams should be on the lookout for any behavior where they may need to intervene. Signs of trouble may include:
While no one can predict when and how a violent incident will occur, employers and employees should undertake a careful assessment of their workplace to identify the risk of violent incidents. With a zero-tolerance policy and strong prevention program, workplaces can be made safer for everyone.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of workplace violence, contact a Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at the Law Offices of Gross & Kenny, LLP. Call 267-589-0090 or complete our online form to schedule an initial consultation. Our offices are located in Philadelphia, allowing us to serve Pennsylvania and New Jersey.