Workplace Violence Risk Management

Statistics from a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), one of the most comprehensive studies of violence in the workplace, are staggering:

  1. Homicide was the second leading cause of death from an injury in the workplace, accounting for approximately 7,600 deaths from 1992 to 1997;

  2. Forty-one percent (41%) of all deaths from occupational injuries involving women were the result of homicides;

  3. Seventy-five percent (75 percent) of all occupational homicides were the result of gun use; fourteen percent (14%) could be attributed to knives or other piercing tools;

  4. Non-fatal workplace assaults resulted in nearly 900,000 lost workdays and an annual $16 million in lost wages; and

  5. In 1997 alone, employers were hit with over $4.2 billion dollars in lost productivity and legal fees due to workplace violence.
    Employer’s Responsibilities

  6. Under Section 5(a)(1), often referred to as the “General Duty Clause,” of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, an employer is required to “furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees.”

    In general employers have a legal duty to provide reasonable protection to their employees and members of the general public from violence in their workplace.

    Twenty-six states, including Georgia, have adopted State Plans, approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which incorporate similar “general duty” language.

    1. Are workers trained in identifying situations that can lead to workplace violence?
    2. Are workers trained in conflict resolution?.
    3.  Are procedures established to to address what actions to take following a violent incident?
    4. Have procedures been established to encourage open communications between workers and supervisors?
    5.Are supervisors trained to recognize potential worker conflicts and behavior leading to workplace violence?

     

    This checklist helps identify present or potential workplace violence problems. Employers also may be aware of other serious hazards not listed here.

    Designated competent and responsible observers can readily make periodic inspections to identify and evaluate workplace security hazards and threats of workplace violence.

    These inspections should be scheduled on a regular basis; when new, previously unidentified security hazards are recognized; when occupational deaths, injuries, or threats of injury occur; when a safety, health and security program is established; and whenever workplace security conditions warrant an inspection.

    Periodic inspections for security hazards include identifying and evaluating potential workplace security hazards and changes in employee work practices which may lead to compromising security.

    Please use the following checklist to identify and evaluate workplace security hazards. TRUE notations indicate a potential risk for serious security hazards:

    __T__F

    This industry frequently confronts violent behavior and assaults of staff.

    __T__F

    Violence has occurred on the premises or in conducting business.

    __T__F

    Customers, clients, or coworkers assault, threaten, yell, push, or verbally abuse employees or use racial or sexual remarks.

    __T__F

    Employees are NOT required to report incidents or threats of violence, regardless of injury or severity, to employer.

    __T__F

    Employees have NOT been trained by the employer to recognize and handle threatening, aggressive, or violent behavior.

    __T__F

    Violence is accepted as “part of the job” by some managers, supervisors, and/or employees.

    __T__F

    Access and freedom of movement within the workplace are NOTrestricted to those persons who have a legitimate reason for being there.

    __T__F

    The workplace security system is inadequate-i.e., door locks malfunction, windows are not secure, and there are no physical barriers or containment systems.

    __T__F

    Employees or staff members have been assaulted, threatened, or verbally abused by clients and patients.

    __T__F

    Medical and counseling services have NOT been offered to employees who have been assaulted.

    __T__F

    Alarm systems such as panic alarm buttons, silent alarms, or personal electronic alarm systems are NOT being used for prompt security assistance.

    __T__F

    There is no regular training provided on correct response to alarm sounding.

    __T__F

    Alarm systems are NOT tested on a monthly basis to assure correct function.

    __T__F

    Security guards are NOT employed at the workplace.

    __T__F

    Closed circuit cameras and mirrors are NOT used to monitor dangerous areas.

    __T__F

    Metal detectors are NOT available or NOT used in the facility.

    __T__F

    Employees have NOT been trained to recognize and control hostile and escalating aggressive behaviors, and to manage assaultive behavior.

    __T__F

    Employees CANNOT adjust work schedules to use the “Buddy system” for visits to clients in areas where they feel threatened.

    __T__F

    Cellular phones or other communication devices are NOT made available to field staff to enable them to request aid.

    __T__F

    Vehicles are NOT maintained on a regular basis to ensure reliability and safety.

    __T__F

    Employees work where assistance is NOT quickly available.

     

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    Disclaimer
    None of the information contained in this web site should be construed as legal advice.
    All forms, policies, information and procedures should be reviewed by your legal counsel before being used in any way

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