Virginia Beach shooter who killed 12 people last week was a great reminder of the risk of workplace violence. We hear about events of violence in the workplace every day. From deadly bullets to fistfights, abuse is a common threat, and no activity is freed from the danger. As workplace violence is increasing, the need to manage this risk is greater than ever.
Increase in assault
Entrepreneurs and managers are doing their best to keep their employees safe from dangerous cases, improper equipment, and other known risks. But what about other people? According to the National Security Council abuse is the fourth leading cause of work-related deaths.
In 2017, workplace surpluses resulted in 458 deaths, as well as 18,400 injuries and diseases that meant at least two days away from work. This represents an alarming increase. In comparison with 2011, assault resulted in 11,690 injuries and diseases with at least two days away from work.
The total number of assaults is even higher. According to OSHA about 2 million US workers are subjected to workplace violence every year.
Even attacks that do not lead to death or missed work must be taken seriously. These abuses can cause low morale and can expose the company to liability issues. These incidents can also be the first warning signs of more violent behavior.
Where the risk is greatest
Workplace violence can be divided into four categories according to CDC
No industry is immune to the threat, but some industries have a much higher risk than others. According to the Security Council, the vast majority of the workplace assault – 99 percent of them – occurred in service providers of some type.
Health care, social services, retail and the transport industry are among those who are at great risk for workplace violence – but again no industry is completely safe.
Managing the Risk
Workplace violence comes in many forms, so managing the risk requires effort on many fronts.
- Address the problem. National Security Council recommends a three-part workplace policy:
- Employee training and an emergency action plan
- Mock training exercises with local law enforcement
- A zero tolerance policy against workplace violence
- Understand your industry. Healthcare professionals are often often attacked by patients with mental health problems and addiction problems, while retail workers are often attacked by criminals who try to steal goods or money. To limit your company's risks, you need to understand what the specific risks are. OSHA provides guidance plans for different industries including the following:
- Social Services
- Late Night Retail
- Taxi and Lease Drivers
- Secure Workplace. Strong security measures will help reduce the likelihood of violence in all industries. OSHA recommends the following steps:
- Video Surveillance
- Additional Lighting
- Alarm System
- Release Safes to Limit the Amount of Cash Saved
- Secure Access Points Using Brands, Electronic Keys and Guards  Protecting Field Workers. Whether they deliver pizza or provide household services, field workers may be exposed to additional risks. OSHA recommends the following measures to keep field workers safe:
- Provide cell phones and alarms or audio equipment to field staff.
- Assign employees not to enter unsafe places or dangerous situations.
- Use a buddy system, escort service