VIOLENCE IN THE WORK PLACE
by Rick E. VanDyke
Distraught employees are injuring or killing their co-workers and/or supervisors at an alarming rate. Additionally,
violence in the workplace can be attributed to angry customers, clients, lovers or spouses.
As stated in The Advisor 's January 1995 edition under the heading "Workplace Health and Safety"; 'You as an
employer can expect the Occupational Safety & Health Administration to become extremely active in the area of
workplace violence and to propose required steps employers may be expected and/or required to take to minimize
the risk of injury or death to workers from violent attacks from co-workers, from customers, and from the general
public. Also, OSHA recently announced a new $25,000 minimum penalty for willful violations - a five fold increase
that reflects the agency's aggressive enforcement strategy. For willful violations which could result in death or
serious physical harm to an employee, penalties will be calculated in categories of severity, with maximum of up to
$70,000. One would assume with the increase of these penalties that this is a sign that OSHA is very aware and
concerned about the alarming increase of workplace violence."
Alarming Statistics: Virtually unheard of 25 years ago, murder in the workplace is now one of the fastest growing
types of homicide in the United States. It is estimated that the rate of workplace homicide has tripled in the last
decade. In 1992 an average of three people were murdered on the job every working day. Workplace homicide is
now the number one cause of occupational death for women and the third for men, after only driving and machinery
accidents. The Census for Fatal Occupational Injury Statistics showed that in 1993 there were 1004 homicides in
the workplace. The number one attacker in the workplace is the customer at 44%, 24% of attacks are by strangers,
20% are co- workers, 7% are bosses and only 3% are former employees. The three most common known reasons
for workplace violence are: evenge, jealousy or financial gain. In fact, it is estimated that one out of every six
emergency 911 calls are in some way related to a romantic obsession.
In the recently aired HBO special "Murder 9 to 5", it was estimated that one out of every three females will experience
some measure of workplace violence in the next five years.
The Center For Disease Control located in Atlanta, Georgia has classified Workplace Violence as a National
"Dying to Work' a seven-part video training series about workplace violence was produced in cooperation with the
Arizona Chapter of the National Safety Council. Some of the Nation's foremost authorities on workplace violence
were consulted in the preparation of this video series. Experts in the areas of Clinical Psychology, Human
Resources, Personnel Management, Security, Employee Assistance, Law Enforcement and the Legal Profession
are represented. This training series is designed to help your company adopt the necessary procedural guidelines
to comply with OSHA and educate your employees on this dreadful disease.
'Our employees come to work to better their lives, not put them at risk". Take the necessary steps to avoid this