What You Need to Know About Workplace Violence

According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), workplace violence is defined as any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or any other form of threatening or disruptive behavior that occurs in the workplace. Workplace violence can range from threatening to hurt someone and verbal abuse, to actual physical assaults and even homicide.

Workplace violence can happen anywhere and at any time, it can involve employees, clients, customers and visitors. According to OSHA, homicide is the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States today, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reports that of 4,547 fatal workplace injuries that occurred in 2010 in the U.S., 506 of them were workplace homicides.

OSHA reports that homicide is the leading cause of death for females in the workplace, and however it manifests itself, whether workers take out their anger on each other, or if disgruntled employees lash out on their superiors or co-workers, or if jilted lovers show up at their ex's work to take out their anger, or if clients or customers turn violent, workplace violence is a major cause of concern for employers and employees in the United States.

According to OSHA, nearly 2 million American workers report being victims of workplace violence each and every year, and it's assumed that many more cases go unreported. OSHA warns that workplace violence can strike anywhere, anytime, and no one is immune. Research has identified certain risk factors that may increase the likelihood of violence for certain workers within certain occupations, such factors include businesses that run cash operations with the public (e.g. convenience stores, restaurants, bars, stores etc.), and others include situations where workers work with unstable, volatile people. Working alone or in isolated areas may also contribute to the possibility of violence.

Other factors that increase the likelihood of workplace violence include working in a dangerous neighborhood with a high crime rate, working late at night, and exchanging money with the public. Some of the workers that are at a higher risk include:

  • Workers who exchange money with the public;
  • Delivery drivers;
  • Healthcare professionals;
  • Public service workers;
  • Customer service agents;
  • Law enforcement personnel;
  • Those who work alone; and
  • People who work in small groups.

Were you a victim of workplace violence?

Were you physically assaulted by a fellow co-worker or a customer? Or, have you been hurt on the job because of some other form of workplace violence? Whether a superior or co-worker hurt you, or if you were injured by a stranger, a client or customer during the course of your work, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits under Connecticut's workers' compensation system. You are urged to contact a Stamford workers' compensation attorney from The Law Offices of Schafer & Schafer, LLP to discuss your assault and to learn about your rights to compensation under Connecticut law.