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

      Disease Epidemic.


      "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

      terrible disease.