Workplace violence is a growing concern for employers and employees throughout the nation. According to OSHA, “workplace violence is defined as any violence or the threat of violence against workers.” Workplace violence can include threats, verbal abuse, physical assaults, and homicide, and can occur at or outside of the workplace. Unfortunately, in the U.S. there are approximately 25,000 violent events that occur in workplace environments each year, according to Axis Communications.
While all employers and employees should be aware of this problem, there are certain industries and areas of work that have an increased risk of experiencing workplace violence. These industries include: workers who exchange money with the public, persons who work alone or in small groups, the healthcare industry, social service workers, and community workers. People who work in these industries should be cautious of the risks of the work that they do and learn about the ways that they can protect themselves.
The best way to prevent workplace violence is for an employer to establish a workplace violence prevention program. All employees should be knowledgeable of the risks of violence in the workplace and have proper training and education on how to prevent these occurrences from happening. Additionally, an employee should always alert any supervisors of safety and security concerns.
If a incident including workplace violence occurs, it is important for the employee to report the incident immediately. The employee should make reports to local police and to their employers, and seek medical treatment, if needed.
In summary, it is important that all employers and employees are aware and properly educated on the issue and risk of workplace violence. Those in industries that are at high risk should review and follow a prevention program regularly to lower the risks of violence. All industries should be knowledgeable of the protocols in place in the event of a workplace violence incident and know what steps to take after an event occurs. According to Axis Communications, “Incident reporting can help facilities identify areas in need of additional security measures”, allowing companies to provide safer environments for themselves, their employees, and their customers.