Resources Abound to Stem Increase in Workplace Assault

Workplace violence papers and forms on an office desk

Violence in the workplace continues to be a concern, for good reason.

According to the National Safety Council, assaults are the fifth leading cause of work-related deaths and in “2020, assaults resulted in 20,050 injuries and illnesses involving days away from work and 392 fatalities.”

OSHA defines workplace violence as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” It can involve employees, clients, customers, or visitors, and can have a negative effect on their relationships at work or with loved ones.  

Knowing how important violence prevention is, your organization needs to decide whether to develop a separate workplace violence program, or incorporate prevention strategies into your employee handbook, standard operating procedures, or overall safety and health program.

Components of a successful program include management commitment to the program, employee engagement, worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control, training, recordkeeping, and program evaluation. 

OSHA says, “In most workplaces where risk factors can be identified, the risk of assault can be prevented or minimized if employers take appropriate precautions. One of the best protections employers can offer their workers is to establish a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence.”

A good start is to complete this short online course on violence prevention from Oregon OSHA which will help you learn about methods to recognize, evaluate, and respond to risk factors. For most industries, a simple assessment tool such as the Workplace Violence Risk Assessment Tool from Public Services Health & Safety Association will suffice.

For healthcare, the American Society for Health Care Risk Management (ASHRM) provides several resources, including this risk assessment tool. The American Nurses Association (ANA) has a page dedicated to workplace violence, while the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) and the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) published their Toolkit for Mitigating Violence in the Workplace.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has many resources that support violence prevention at work, in the community, and at home. Visit their VetoViolence page to review information, tools, and training.

Read more about risk factors and how to develop your plan and program in our past blog “ Workplace Violence Remains a Serious Issue”.

You can also tune into the MEMIC Safety Experts Podcast “Are you Prepared? Violence in the American Workplace.” 

And finally, policyholders can log into their MEMIC Safety Director account to view these previously recorded training sessions:

Whatever you do, do something, now! Reach out to your safety management consultant today.