According to the United States Department of Labor, almost 2 million American workers are victimized at work every year and there is no way to determine how many workplace violence cases go unreported.
Violence in the workplace can strike anywhere and at any time. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards require that employers provide staff members with a workplace that is free of dangers. An employer can take precautions to minimize or even prevent issues related to workplace violence. Violence Prevention Programs and Employment Screening prior to hiring employees are two ways to help prevent workplace violence.
Workplace Violence, Defined
Workplace violence ranges from verbal abuse to homicide. These violent behaviors can involve clients, employees, visitors and customers.
Workplace violence is described as any threat or act of:
- Physical violence
- Threatening disruptive behavior
Workplace Violence Costs to the Employer
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducted a survey related to workplace violence. According to this survey, the direct costs to an organization connected with an incident of workplace violence include:
- A general productivity loss of nearly 40 percent.
- A management opportunity cost of almost 60 percent.
- Replacement costs, due to worker turnover, more than 30 percent.
Reduce the Likelihood of Violence in the Workplace
OSHA states that implementing a violence prevention program, in conjunction with administrative and engineering controls, and sufficient training techniques can help reduce the probability of violence in the workplace. In order for a program such as this to be effective, all staff members must be aware that every claim of violence in the workplace is considered serious and will be investigated.
Employers must make it clear that upon completion of the investigation, guilty parties will be held responsible for their actions. Employers must consistently penalize individuals who do not abide by the rules set forth in the violence prevention program.
OSHA Law Requires Working Conditions be Free of Known Dangers
Workers deserve a safe workplace and clearly, employers want to keep their staff members safe. For this reason, employers need to identify the risk factors of their business and take the steps necessary to minimize or prevent such violent acts. If staff members believe their workplace does not meet the safety standards set forth by OSHA, they can file a complaint. Complaints such as these may prompt an inspection.
Background Screening May Help Staff Members Feel More Secure
One way an employer can make staff members feel more secure is by performing background screening on all employees. These employment background screening searches should include sex offender registry search information, criminal background search, employment eligibility verification, Social Security checks and professional reference checks. A thorough employment background screening may disclose undesirable past behaviors that may increase the possibility of an individual committing a violent act.
Disclaimer Statement: All information presented is never intended as legal advice and is for information purposes only.