‘It Will Never Happen Here’ — A Scary Statement
I hope you’ve had your coffee for the day, as I’m about to throw a couple of eye-opening statistics at you:
- From 2002 to 2013, the rate of serious workplace violence incidents (those requiring days off for an injured worker to recuperate) was on average more than four times greater in the health care industry than the private industry.
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2 out of every 3 workplace homicides, the assailant has no known personal relationship with the victims.
- Nearly 2 million American workers report being victims of workplace violence annually — this includes everything from verbal abuse to physical assaults to homicide. Many more go unreported.
This is startling, right? It’s enough to keep you up at night. And while it would seem easy to blame a “disgruntled (former) employee” for the mass majority of workplace homicides, as mentioned above, more than 60 percent of the time that’s simply not the case. While there are a lot of unhappy employees in the world, most won’t shoot or cause injury to a co-worker. Workplace violence occurs because something else is going on in the assailant’s life.
There’s no bullet-proof solution in place to prevent this, but there are protective steps businesses should have in place, the biggest of which is a zero-tolerance workplace violence policy. Here’s what you need to know about this policy:
- The policy should address everyone who may come into contact with your organization’s employees, patients, clients, family members, visitors, contractors, etc.
- The policy should use engineering controls, administrative controls, and training.
- The policy can be stand-alone or incorporated into an injury and illness prevention program or the organization’s employee handbook.
Additionally, it’s imperative that all claims of workplace violence be investigated and remedied in an expeditious manner.
The subject alone is frightening, I understand. But taking an “it will never happen here” approach is not the way to go. So if you’re not sure where to start, just ask. At Holmes Murphy, our Health and Human Services team can help your business develop and implement a zero-tolerance workplace violence policy.
A couple of other great resources I recommend taking a look at are:
- Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers – OSHA Publication 3148, (2015)
- Worker Safety in Hospitals: Caring for our Caregivers, Preventing Workplace Violence in Healthcare. OSHA, (2015)
Again, you don’t have to tackle figuring out ways to protect your employees and business alone. We’re here to help. Do you have questions about zero-tolerance workplace violence policies? Do you have a plan in place, but aren’t sure if it’s 100 percent solid? Would you like someone to review your policy and provide suggestions? Maybe you’ve got a great plan in place and would like to share some advice with others. Please feel free to ask or share below!
Published on: 04.04.16