New Prevention Program Targets Rise In Workplace Violence
CINCINNATI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 16, 1997--It's a development some experts already predicted: America's
burgeoning problem with violence has officially become a major issue in the workplace. In fact, the level of violence
has become so serious inside American businesses that the Centers for Disease Control has now declared
workplace homicide a serious public health epidemic requiring priority attention by policy makers.
And with good reason. According to the U.S. Department of Labor 912 workplace homicides occurred in 1996,
averaging 17 deaths a week. In fact, homicide continues to be the number one cause of on-the-job death for women
and the second leading cause for men.
In response to this problem, Cincinnati-based Great American Insurance Companies(R), a long-time leader in
addressing difficult workplace issues, has developed a Violence Prevention Program, designed to help businesses
both prevent and deal with workplace violence.
According to Beth Lindamood, senior market analyst at Great American(R) and a nationally-recognized expert on
workplace issues, while workplace homicides make national headlines, less catastrophic incidents such as
physical assault, threatening behavior, verbal abuse, harassment and fist fights are becoming all too common
occurrences for many employers. ``Every year nearly a million workers report falling victim to workplace violence,''
Lindamood said. ``Attacks and threats are the fastest growing types of workplace violence; an average of 18,000
workers are assaulted every week.''
And numbers, Lindamood said, may actually be low since many more cases of workplace violence go unreported.
``The Depart of Justice estimates that 58% of harassment offenses, 43% of threats, and 24% of attacks go
unreported to management.'' Lindamood believes that nonfatal violence on the job has become so widespread that
virtually all companies will be forced to face the issue sooner or later.
``Violence prevention doesn't have to be a big expenditure for a company,'' Lindamood said. ``Many of the steps to
making workplaces safer don't cost anything,'' She outlines five components that she calls fundamental to effective
violence prevention programs. They are:
· Securing Management Commitment
· Preparing and distributing of A Written Policy
· Expanding Pre-Employment Screening
· Re-training supervisors and employees
· Reviewing existing safety and security measures
Because of the growing level of violent crimes in the workplace -- including escalating murder rates -- the Centers
for Disease Control has workplace violence as a National Disease Epidemic. Currently one out of every six violent
crimes committed in the United States happens at work. Since 1994, almost 50% of all businesses reported at
least one violent occurrence, which is up from 33% in 1988.
In addition to the millions of lives affected by this trend, workplace violence is also having a severe effect on our
economy. Overall, workplace violence is estimated to cost American businesses at least $36 billion a year
according to a study conducted by the Workplace Violence Research Institute. In addition, Duane Fredrickson, a
Minneapolis-based workplace violence consultant, has found up to 50% decreases in productivity in the 6-18 weeks
following an incident, and employee turnover rates of 20 to 40 percent.
Companies or individuals wishing to learn more about combating workplace violence can contact Great American
Insurance Companies(R) to request a free brochure by calling 1-888/788-GAIC. Or visit Great American's(R) Web
site at http://www.gaic.com .