Do you have a plan ready for workplace violence?
Date Posted: 08/19/2019
Workplace violence is recognized as a serious occupational hazard that, like other safety issues, can be mitigated if employers take protective measures. Employers who familiarize themselves with the General Duty Clause and develop a plan can reduce the risk of workplace violence.
The General Duty Clause
The General Duty Clause holds employers responsible for ensuring a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to any employee — and that includes hazards related to workplace violence. Employers that recognize hazards and fail to address them can be cited by OSHA.
You can reduce the hazards of workplace violence by:
- Conducting a workplace violence hazard analysis.
- Providing employees with training on workplace violence.
- Encouraging employees to report any incidents of violence.
- Giving police physical layouts of facilities to improve response time.
- Keeping log books and reports of such incidents to help determine any necessary actions to prevent recurrence.
- Providing management support during emergencies.
- Setting up a trained response team to respond to emergencies.
- Using properly trained security officers to deal with aggressive behavior.
- Developing, or improving upon, written or comprehensive workplace violence programs.
Help your employees feel safe
OSHA also recognizes that many cases of workplace violence have gone unreported. In some cases, employees may feel hesitant to report an incident because they are afraid of any punishment or continued workplace violence against them.
Your employees should feel secure while reporting an incident. To help reduce the number of incidents that might go unreported at your workplace:
- Encourage employees to report all incidents and threats - and remind them that reporting threats is critical to stopping an incident before it happens.
- Inform your employees of their legal rights.
- Offer stress debriefing sessions and post-traumatic counseling services to help employees recover from a violent incident.
- Share information about ways to avoid similar situations in the future.
Although OSHA doesn’t have a specific standard for workplace violence, it still requires employers to provide a safe working environment for all employees. Preventing workplace violence will depend on your honest efforts to identify and address any hazards in your workplace and ensure that employees are comfortable with reporting incidents that occur.