Tag Archives: worker safety

What Are You Doing to Combat Workplace Violence?

In September of 2011, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) issued a directive entitled “Enforcement Procedures for Investigating or Inspecting Workplace Violence Incidents.”   While OSHA doesn’t yet have specific standards on workplace violence, this directive provides information on the procedure that an OSHA inspector is required to follow when responding to and reporting on workplace violence. It also provides details on what employers should do to try to reduce or eliminate the significant hazard that workplace violence presents.

The Dangers of Workplace Violence

According to OSHA , over 2 million incidents of workplace violence occur in the United States annually.  OSHA broadly defines workplace violence to include physical abuse, verbal abuse and other erratic behavior. Workplace violence is also defined as any altercation or incident of violence that occurs between co-workers or between workers and customers.

With over 2 million annual incidents, workplace violence is clearly a serious problem, but Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) research indicates just how serious. According to the BLS, homicidal violence is the fourth leading cause of death in US workplaces and the number one cause of workplace death among female workers.

The most dangerous industries for workplace violence include late night food service professions, healthcare professions and social services, but workplace violence can and does happen anywhere.

OHSA Recommendations for Employers

To keep your employees safe, there are a few specific steps OSHA recommends that employers take. These include:

  • Conducting an assessment to assess workplace violence hazards
  • Having a clear written prevention policy in place addressing workplace violence
  • Providing on-the-job training about the subject of workplace violence
  • Implementing procedures and policies designed to reduce violence
  • Training management and providing management support during emergency situations
  • Responding promptly to and thoroughly investigating all reports of workplace violence

Employers should also be aware of certain triggers of workplace violence, such as job terminations, and should take steps such as adding extra security to deal with sensitive or dangerous situations.

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What Are You Doing to Combat Workplace Violence?

In September of 2011, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) issued a directive entitled “Enforcement Procedures for Investigating or Inspecting Workplace Violence Incidents.”   While OSHA doesn’t yet have specific standards on workplace violence, this directive provides information on the procedure that an OSHA inspector is required to follow when responding to and reporting on workplace violence. It also provides details on what employers should do to try to reduce or eliminate the significant hazard that workplace violence presents.

The Dangers of Workplace Violence

According to OSHA , over 2 million incidents of workplace violence occur in the United States annually.  OSHA broadly defines workplace violence to include physical abuse, verbal abuse and other erratic behavior. Workplace violence is also defined as any altercation or incident of violence that occurs between co-workers or between workers and customers.

With over 2 million annual incidents, workplace violence is clearly a serious problem, but Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) research indicates just how serious. According to the BLS, homicidal violence is the fourth leading cause of death in US workplaces and the number one cause of workplace death among female workers.

The most dangerous industries for workplace violence include late night food service professions, healthcare professions and social services, but workplace violence can and does happen anywhere.

OHSA Recommendations for Employers

To keep your employees safe, there are a few specific steps OSHA recommends that employers take. These include:

  • Conducting an assessment to assess workplace violence hazards
  • Having a clear written prevention policy in place addressing workplace violence
  • Providing on-the-job training about the subject of workplace violence
  • Implementing procedures and policies designed to reduce violence
  • Training management and providing management support during emergency situations
  • Responding promptly to and thoroughly investigating all reports of workplace violence

Employers should also be aware of certain triggers of workplace violence, such as job terminations, and should take steps such as adding extra security to deal with sensitive or dangerous situations.

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Employee Assistance Programs Can Help Productivity

Everyone has problems in their personal lives. People are able to deal with these prolems differently. Some have the capacity and resources to handle issues on their own. Others may need help in order to get direction in their lives.  

People who have personal issues or major life events that affect them negatively may be overwhelmed, unable, or unwilling to deal with their issues. This could adversely affect their well being and productivity with their jobs.  In response to this many employers offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which help employees resolve personal problems or work-related issues. 

The issues that an EAP work with can vary. They can include substance abuse issues, mental health concerns, legal and family issues. The EAP service is usually free to the employee. Often an employer will contract with an agency or multiple agencies to provide services to employees. An Employee Assistance Program have high standards in regard to confidentiality and ethics.

An EAP is not only a great resource for employees but for supervisors and managers as well. For employees in their unit who have issues affecting their work, an EAP is a great option. Just as an EAP agency values privacy and confidentiality, a supervisor must do what they can to ensure to treat the issue with discretion. From a legal standpoint there are privacy laws regarding employees with an EAP. If a supervisor makes a referral, they can be informed if the employee came in but cannot be told what occurred.  

An EAP can benefit with lower health care costs, less employee turnover and absenteeism, and increased productivity. Some also offer training and education programs and crisis intervention services. The most effective way that an EAP can work is for all parties to adhere to confidentiality. As any warm blooded American worker knows, the workplace can be a beehive of news and rumors.  If word gets out that an employee is using an EAP other employees that may have been inclined to participate will not for fear of being discovered. Privacy is the name of the game when it comes to EAP’s.    

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