Every year, nearly 2 million workers throughout the United States have reported being a victim of non-fatal violence at the workplace, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA states that 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. One of the most shocking statistics that I have come across is that homicide is currently the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States.
What can you do to STOP workplace violence?
S: See the Risk Factors – Where risk factors can be identified, the risk of assault can be prevented or minimized in most workplaces if employers take appropriate precautions by assessing the likelihood of incidents occurring. Risk factor examples include: crying, sulking or temper tantrums, excessive absenteeism or lateness, disregard for the health and safety of others, and disrespect for authority.
T: Train on Zero Tolerance – One of the best protections employers can offer their workers is to establish and train on 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.
O: Offer Guidelines – It is up to each employee to make the workplace a safer place, therefore providing guidelines for employee roles and responsibilities can help increase employee understanding of the nature of workplace violence, how to respond to it, and how to prevent it. It is also critical to ensure that all workers understand that all claims of workplace violence will be investigated and remedied promptly.
P: Produce a Prevention Program – 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. It is imperative that all employees, including managers and supervisors, understand this policy and program. Such programs can be incorporated into an injury and illness prevention program, employee handbook, or manual of standard operating procedures.
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