Workplace Violence Safety Talk
Workplace violence is any threat, disruptive behaviors, intimidation, physical aggression, or act of violence in the workplace including homicide. Homicide in the workplace is currently the fourth leading cause of death on the job. In 2014 alone, there were 409 deaths on the job due to homicide. According to OSHA, over 2 million people report being victims of workplace violence every year.
Different factors contribute to whether someone may experience violence at work. People who work where money is exchanged are at a higher risk factor for workplace violence. Other career fields such as EMS, police officers, healthcare workers, customer service representatives, and delivery drivers are more likely to experience violence while on the job. Factors such as time of day worked, geographical area of work, working alone or in small groups, also has impact on whether someone is more likely to experience workplace violence.
Employers are ultimately responsible for keeping their employees safe. A zero tolerance policy is one of the best preventable measures an employer can take, especially for workplace violence between employees. Any threat or aggression needs to be immediately reported and addressed. Any concern from employees or a customer needs to be taken seriously and corrected immediately. Depending on the type of work being done other controls can be implemented by the employer to keep employees safe.
Individuals need to be diligent in protecting themselves as well. Report any suspicious activities whether it be the public or another employee when dealing with situations that can lead to violence on the job. When faced with workplace violence dealing with another coworker, do not become confrontational with them. Leave the area when you can do so safely and report the situation immediately to a supervisor. If your immediate supervisor does not take the report seriously, go to a higher level of supervision to correct the issue. Workplace violence almost never comes out of nowhere and when smaller issues are reported and addressed it keeps the entire workplace safer as well as yourself.