employees discussing in an aggressive way, workplace violence

CEO’s Need to Know About OSHA and Workplace Violence

Owning a business is quite challenging in many ways. One of the most critical areas of leading your organization is making sure employees, clients, and guests are safe on your watch. In order to maintain individuals’ safety and protect your assets, guidelines and laws have been created for businesses to follow, particularly when it comes to workplace violence.

If you haven’t done your homework on OSHA’s workplace violence policies, now is the time to read more about it.

Everything A Business Owner Needs to Know About OSHA and Workplace Violence

What Is OSHA?

OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It was created with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Its purpose is to “ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.” In other words, OSHA provides guidelines in the work environment to guarantee the safety of working professionals.

What Is Workplace Violence?

Workplace Violence is any type of abuse, either physical, emotional, or verbal, towards a working staff member, which jeopardizes at least one employee’s safety. This is what OSHA aims to prevent by providing specific guidelines. Unfortunately, workplace violence can happen at any time and not necessarily from one employee to another. It could develop between a superior and an employee, or between a client and staff members.

What Are the 4 Types of Workplace Violence?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention cites the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)’s 4 types of workplace violence categories:
  1. Criminal Intent: This is when the assaulter has no relationship to the business or their employees. (For example: robbers, shoplifters, etc.)
  2. Customer/Client: Where patients, visitors, members, family members are the perpetrators.
  3. Employee-on-Employee: This is where two or more co-workers are the focus of the violence. It can range from verbal threats, harassment, physical assaults, bullying, cyber-bullying, pranks, thefts, vandalism, etc.
  4. Personal Relationships: Individuals sometimes consider these cases domestic-related (spouses, significant others) and tends spills over to the workplace.

What Is The Most Common Workplace Violence?

Assaults are categorized as the most common incident as identified by the National Safety Council where they claimed that in 2018, 20,790 injuries occurred. Assaults are classified as an intentional injury by another person and can include any of the following incidents:

  • Intentional shooting by another person

  • Stabbing, cutting, slashing, or piercing

  • Hitting, kicking, beating, and shoving

  • Strangulation

  • Bombing and arson

  • Rape and sexual assault

  • Threats and verbal assault

poster showcasing the frequency of workplace violence

Does OSHA Require Workplace Violence Training?

When it comes to Workplace Violence Training, OSHA can be pretty vague about this. According to OSHA’s archive, there is no “specific standard for workplace violence.” However, it heavily recommends companies perform workplace violence prevention programs. Additionally, employers are obligated to address Workplace Violence under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, more commonly known as the “General Duty Clause” which reads, “Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”

The Number One Thing You Can Do to Prevent Workplace Violence

According to Guardian Defense’s President, Steven S. Smith, “the best thing one can do to prevent workplace violence is to have a zero-tolerance policy for such acts. This shows the employees and guests that aggressive behavior is unacceptable and will dissuade others from such acts. The business must implement protocols that employees and management can follow should a incident occur. The onus is on the leader of the organization to set the standard, make sure all employees are trained and abide by it.”

3 Steps You Can Implement Today

Organizations are vulnerable every day to workplace violence as it comes in many shapes and forms. As the company’s leader, you should never let your guard down, or turn a blind eye to such incidents. Here are 3 steps you can begin working on today:

  1. Have a No-Tolerance Policy for Workplace Violence.

    Post signs of who employees can contact if they have been a victim of, or have witnessed, a violent act.

  2. Provide Training by Professionals

    who can teach your employees to look for certain indicators and behaviors- and the steps they can take to report it.

  3. Document all Claims and Incidents.

    This will hold your workplace accountable for following through with reports; and can protect your organization if lawsuits ensue. 

According to OSHA, “It is a good idea to keep a record of all safety and health training. Documentation can also supply an answer to one of the first questions an incident investigator will ask: ‘Did the employee receive adequate training to do the job?'” 

As a leader, you know situations tend to drastically change in a matter of seconds. Make sure you are prepared for anything that comes your way and threatens the safety of your company, employees, brand and clients.

Guardian Defense offers an incredible Workplace Violence Prevention program to accompany any plans currently set in your organization.

It doesn’t matter if you are a business, a school, a place of worship, a college, a law enforcement organization or officer, or even a civilian, there is a training option for you! Contact us today at 561-419-8869 to find out how we can guide you towards a safer and stronger workplace.

About Shasmy C. Daly

Shasmy C. Daly is a Lynn University student majoring in Political Science and minoring in Psychology. She joined Guardian Defense in April 2020 because of her passion for helping people and learning new things. “Active shooters are a regretful part of our society. Unfortunately, at times, we have limited control of the “who’s” “when’s,” and “where’s,” but thanks to Guardian Defense we have the opportunity to better prepare for it. We have an opportunity to survive and help to save others as well.”