Each year, roughly 2 million workers report that they have been the victim of workplace violence. The truth is that a great number of cases are expected to be unreported, so the actual number is much higher.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reports that in 2010, more than 4,500 people died because of fatal workplace injuries. More than 500 of these deaths were workplace homicides. Homicide is the number one cause of death for females in the workplace.
No one should be subjected to violent acts in the workplace and there can be compensation that can be provided to those who have been the victim of violent workplace injuries in Atlanta and elsewhere.Our Georgia workers compensation attorneys understand how common these types of work injuries are. As a matter of fact, workplace violence is one of the top four causes of all workplace fatalities in the last 15 years. More than 3,000 workers have died from on-the-job homicide from the just 2006 to 2010. Another 15,000 workers were injured during this time because of workplace violence.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently released a new directive on its Enforcement Procedures for Investigating or Inspecting Incidents of Workplace Violence. Under the new directive, OSHA members will have to follow a new set of rules pertaining to the investigation of workplace violence reports. They will also have to conduct more frequent and more thorough inspections on industries in which workplace violence is more prominent. Some of these industries include social service and healthcare settings, and late-night retail establishments, such as convenience stores and 24-hour sit-in restaurants.
One of the most recent cases of workplace violence came after an OSHA inspection of a psychiatric hospital in Maine. The inspections revealed on-duty workers were assaulted more than 90 times by patients. These reports were collected from 2008 to 2010.
That Maine hospital has been cited for not providing those workers with efficient and adequate protection against the workplace violence. The hospital must now pay approximately $6,000 in fines. The Administration has handed over similar citations to facilities in Massachusetts and in New York where workers were killed as the result or workplace assaults.
“These incidents and others like them can be avoided or decreased if employers take appropriate precautions to protect their workers,” said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.”
How to help prevent the risks of workplace violence:
- Enact a zero-tolerance policy. Make sure that all employees, clients, patients, contractors, visitors, etc. are covered under the policy. This policy should ensure that an employer will take the proper actions if a violent act or threat is reported.
- Frequently assess worksites. Create a written Workplace Violence Prevention Program. The program should include administrative and engineering controls along with a form of training so that everyone can better understand and recognize workplace violence.
- Let all employees know about their legal right to prosecute perpetrators in the event of becoming the victim of workplace violence.
- Ensure that employees understand how to report a violent act and who to report it to. Ensure that everyone knows that these reports will be taken seriously and all of them will be both investigated and remedied immediately.
- Make sure that no employee who reports a violent act in the workplace faces reprisals.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of workplace violence in the Atlanta area and want to discuss your rights, contact the experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys at J. Franklin Burns. Call 404-920-4708 to make a free appointment to discuss your claim.