Workplace Violence Defined

The common sense definition of workplace violence is that which arises out of disputes or adverse interpersonal relations between employees and employers in and around their place of employment. But in order to better study and understand workplace violence, it is necessary to categorize it as OSHA has done. According to OSHA, there are three categories of workplace violence.

Type I-Stranger Violence

Stranger versus employee such as an armed robbery. This accounts for 60% of all workplace homicides.

Type II-Client Violence

Client versus employee which is best exemplified by a social worker being attacked by a client. This accounts for 30% of all workplace homicides. A much overlooked arena is the violence perpetrated against nurses in their workplace setting.

Type III-Employee Violence

Employee versus employee which is best exemplified by a case wherein an employee attacks a supervisor. This accounts for 10% of all workplace homicides. Keep in mind that the term employees may also refer to temporaries and subcontractors who spend a significant amount of their work day in your workplace. This category also includes domestic violence. Employers are puzzled by this issue because nowhere in the employee selection process can this issue be addressed. Employers cannot even ask a potential employee questions about his or her private life.