Workplace Health | Week 6 - Workplace Violence

Workplace Health | Week 6 - Workplace Violence

Friday 13th March 2020
Lewis Fletcher

What is workplace violence?

The term workplace violence describes any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or any other such threatening disruptive behaviors that occur in the place of work. Workplace violence can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults as well as homicide.

The violence can have an effect on people such as clients, customers, employees and visitors. In the United States, acts of violence and other injuries are the third leading cause of fatal occupational injuries. Furthermore, in the United States of America, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), out of the 5147 fatal injuries that occurred in the United States in 2017, 458 cases of this were intentional injuries which was caused by another person.

Who is at risk of workplace violence?

Research has identified the factors that may increase the risk of violence to some workers at some workplaces. Such factors as these can include exchanging money with the public and working with people who are volatile and/or unstable. Furthermore, working in a place where you are alone or in an isolated area may also contribute to the potential for violence to occur. If you work in somewhere such as a place of care or where alcohol is served you may also be affected by the likelihood of violence. Additionally, to this, the time of day or location of work can have an effect. For example, if you work nights or in an area with high crime rates there are risk factors which you should consider when addressing the issue of workplace violence.

How can the hazards associated with workplace violence be reduced?

In most workplaces where there is a risk factor it can be identified. The risk of assault can also be prevented or minimized if the employers take the appropriate precautions. One of the best protections which an employer can offer to their workers is to establish a zero-tolerance policy towards workplace violence. This policy should be designed to cover all patients, clients, workers, contractors, visitors and also anyone else who may come into contact with company personnel.

By being able to assess their workplace, employers can identify the methods used to reduce the likelihood of incidents which occur. The 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 in both the private sector and federal workplaces.