Of all the job hazards that employees face every day, one problem that’s shared all over is the issue of intentional violence. There are roughly two million reports of workplace violence every year, and they result in hundreds of fatalities and thousands of injuries.
Workplace violence can occur in many different forms, but it generally breaks down into the following categories:
- Personal disputes: For example, a bitter, angry spouse stalks an employee to their job and assaults them.
- Worker-on-worker: For example, a fired employee returns to take revenge against the boss who terminated them.
- Customer actions: For example, a drug addict assaults a doctor in the emergency room after being refused drugs.
- Random criminal acts: For example, a thief wanders onto a construction lot at night and assaults the unarmed security guard.
Researchers have long known, however, that there are things that employers can do to make the workplace safer for their employees. They can hire security guards, put up cameras and take other measures to prevent criminal activity. They can make sure that no employee is ever working with the public alone or placed in a vulnerable position with a third party, whether patient, customer or client. Perhaps most importantly, however, they can pay attention to the company culture — and work to create one that listens to employee complaints and fosters a culture of safety and respect.
If you were the victim of workplace violence, you’re far from alone. That doesn’t mean, however, that your employer’s insurance company will graciously pay your claim. Make sure that you understand all of your rights to workers’ compensation.