Spotlight on Workplace Violence Prevention and Awareness in April

April 2014 marks the third annual Workplace Violence Awareness Month, an observance aimed at raising public awareness of one of the top four causes of workplace fatalities.

In 2009, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, reported that employees — particularly those employed as law-enforcement personnel, security guards or bartenders— were victim to approximately 572,000 nonfatal violent crimes. Additionally, a 10-year BJS study on workplace violence found assault to be the most common form of violence, accounting for 75% of all violent incidents, 19% of which rose to the level of aggravated assault. Finally, over 3,000 workplace homicides were reported between 2006 and 2010. Most of these crimes (80%) involved a gun and occurred at the highest rates among those employed in sales or office positions (33%) or a protective service position (17%).

Statistics show that between 2005 and 2009, workplace homicides stemmed from a variety of sources:

  • Robbers—38%;
  • Other types of assailants — 32%;
  • Work associates, including current and former co-workers, customers and/or clients — 21%; and
  • Abusive relationships involving a spouse, relative and/or other personal acquaintances — 8%.

Experts suggest employers take steps to prevent workplace violence, including —

  • Pre-employment screening on all potential employees;
  • Addressing the physical security of offices or facilities;
  • Training employees on measures to take in response to violent incidents;
  • Employee assistance programs; and
  • Fostering a positive work environment.

Employers can help create a safe and secure work environment by taking the risk of workplace violence seriously with effective prevention strategies, policies and procedures. Workplace violence training is a key component of prevention.

Topics:  Access to Employer Facilities, DOJ, Employer Mandates, Security, Workplace Violence

Published In: Labor & Employment Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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