WORK PLACE VIOLENCE
YAWAR HASAN KHAN
What is workplace violence?
Workplace violence is violence or the threat of
violence against workers. It can occur at or
outside the workplace and can range from
threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and
homicide, one of the leading causes of job-related
deaths. However it manifests itself, workplace
violence is a growing concern for employers and
Who is vulnerable?
Some 2 million American workers are victims
of workplace violence each year. Workplace
violence can strike anywhere, and no one is
immune. Some workers, however, are at
increased risk. Among them are workers who
exchange money with the public; deliver
passengers, goods, or services; or work alone or
in small groups, during late night or early
morning hours, in high-crime areas, or in
community settings and homes where they have
extensive contact with the public. This group
includes health-care and social service workers
such as visiting nurses, psychiatric evaluators,
and probation officers; community workers such
as gas and water utility employees, phone and
cable TV installers, and letter carriers; retail
workers; and taxi drivers
What can these employers do to help
protect these employees?
The best protection employers can offer is to
establish a zero-tolerance policy toward
workplace violence against or by their employees.
The employer should establish a workplace
violence prevention program or incorporate the
information into an existing accident prevention
program, employee handbook, or manual of
standard operating procedures. It is critical to
ensure that all employees know the policy and
understand that all claims of workplace violence
will be investigated and remedied promptly.
In addition, employers can offer additional
protections such as the following:
Secure the workplace. Where appropriate
to the business, install video surveillance,
extra lighting, and alarm systems and
minimize access by outsiders through
identification badges, electronic keys, and
Provide drop safes to limit the amount of
cash on hand. Keep a minimal amount of
cash in registers during evenings and latenight
Equip field staff with cellular phones and
hand-held alarms or noise devices, and
require them to prepare a daily work plan
and keep a contact person informed of their
location throughout the day. Keep employerprovided
vehicles properly maintained.
Instruct employees not to enter any location
where they feel unsafe. Introduce a “buddy
system” or provide an escort service or
police assistance in potentially dangerous
situations or at night
Develop policies and procedures covering
visits by home health-care providers. Address
the conduct of home visits, the presence of
others in the home during visits, and the
worker’s right to refuse to provide services in
a clearly hazardous situation.
How can the employees protect
Nothing can guarantee that an employee will
not become a victim of workplace violence. These
steps, however, can help reduce the odds
Learn how to recognize, avoid, or diffuse
potentially violent situations by attending
personal safety training programs
Alert supervisors to any concerns about
safety or security and report all incidents
immediately in writing
Avoid traveling alone into unfamiliar locations
or situations whenever possible.
Carry only minimal money and required
identification into community settings
What should employers do following
an incident of workplace violence?
Encourage employees to report and log all
incidents and threats of workplace violence.
Provide prompt medical evaluation and
treatment after the incident.
Report violent incidents to the local police
Inform victims of their legal right to prosecute
Discuss the circumstances of the incident with
staff members. Encourage employees to
share information about ways to avoid similar
situations in the future.
Offer stress debriefing sessions and posttraumatic
counseling services to help workers
recover from a violent incident.
Investigate all violent incidents and threats,
monitor trends in violent incidents by type or
circumstance, and institute corrective actions.
Discuss changes in the program during
regular employee meetings.