Preventing Workplace Violence

Topics: Loss Control

Workplace violence can occur in any number of industries, settings and situations. It’s an ever-growing concern for both employers and their employees, with OSHA stating that almost 2 million Americans are victims of occupational violence every year. And, that number does not include those cases that go undocumented.


What is Occupational Violence?

occupational violence

defines occupational or workplace violence as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” These acts can range from verbal abuse and physical assaults to even death. In fact, homicide is currently one of the top causes of fatal occupational injuries in the United States.

The types of insurance claims that arise from occupational violence can include business interruption, liability, property, employment practices, workers’ compensation and more. For this reason, it’s vital the business owners develop and maintain an occupational violence policy that focuses on common red flags.


Occupational Violence Risk Assessment

OSHA created a directive that determines the key risk factors related to workplace violence. Certain industries are more susceptible to violent incidences, including:
  • The healthcare field, social services or organizations that work with volatile or unstable individuals
  • Retail or food establishments that are open late at night, early in the morning, or serve alcohol
  • Employees who are required to handle or exchange money and valuables, especially in settings remote from the business’s premises
  • Organizations located in areas known for high crime rates
  • Industries where employees work alone or in an isolated area

Employers can reduce their risk for potentially violent situations between employees by being properly prepared for such incidents. While it can be difficult to anticipate, having a plan in place to address issues at their onset can aid in workplace violence prevention.

Additionally, employers should provide workplace safety training programs that allow employees to understand how to recognize, avoid or defuse potentially violent situations. This training should also make it clear what type of behavior is unacceptable. Should an incident occur, supervisors should immediately report them in writing. Physical assessments of the property should also be conducted on a regular basis, including making sure the grounds are secure, well-lit and video surveillance or alarm systems are functioning properly.

OSHA may schedule routine inspections for those industries at higher risk for workplace violence. Or, it’s possible an inspection may happen after an incident already occurred to ensure that moving forward, occupational violence prevention policies are set in place to decrease the likelihood of another incident.


Loss Control from AmTrust Financial

AmTrust’s Loss Control Department understands that safety starts with knowledge. We offer a variety of workplace safety resources designed to help your organization take a proactive approach in reducing injuries and incidences on the job. We are dedicated to providing the right recommendations to create the most effective loss prevention program for your specific needs. Please contact us today to learn more.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact with your local RSM for more information.

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