Workplace Violence: Who Is at Risk and How Workers’ Comp Can Help
One of the most tragic ways employees get injured on the job is through incidents of workplace violence either by co-workers, disgruntled former employees, or even a stranger. These attacks usually happen suddenly without any warning. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), three million workers report being the victims of workplace violence yearly, and many others do not report acts of violence against them. Sadly, homicide is the fourth leading cause of workplace death.
Victims can suffer devastating injuries and long-term emotional trauma from their terrifying ordeals. Fortunately, workers’ compensation benefits can provide them with the lost wages and the medical and counseling treatments they may need while they are off work attempting to recover.
What Is Workplace Violence?
Workplace violence encompasses much more than physical assaults against a worker. It can include the following:
- Threatening behaviors like shaking fists, throwing objects, and destroying property
- Verbal or written threats
- Harassment, which includes words, gestures, intimidation, and bullying
- Verbal abuse
- Physical attacks
- Sexual Harassment
Not only workers are the victims of this senseless violence. Customers, clients, and visitors are also at risk. In addition, the violence does not always occur at the employer’s work site. They can occur at work-related conferences, trade shows, work-related social events, or the worker’s home.
Workers Most at Risk of Workplace Violence
Workers in virtually any occupation are at risk of being the victim of workplace violence. However, a number of factors can increase the risks of violence, including the following:
- Working with the public
- Handling money, valuable property, or prescriptions
- Carrying out inspection or enforcement duties—often in a governmental capacity
- Providing services, care, advice, or education
- Working with unstable or volatile people or people who have mental health issues
- Working where alcohol is served
- Working alone, in small numbers, and late at night
- Working in community and home settings
- Delivering food
- Providing transportation services
- Working during periods of intense organizational changes or under intense pressure
Workers in some occupations are at more danger than others. These include:
- Health care employees, including those who work in home health care
- Correctional officers
- Social service employees
- Retail employees
- Law enforcement officers and other personnel
- Delivery drivers
- Public service employees
- Customer service representatives
- Workers handling money and who work at financial institutions
- Bartenders and waitresses
- Taxi and other ride share drivers
- Postal workers
What Are the Warning Signs of Violence at Your Job?
Unfortunately, there are often no warnings of these sudden acts of violence. A co-worker could suddenly and secretly snap or a robbery or other crime could suddenly happen. However, some questions to ask yourself about a co-worker include:
- Is the person becoming increasingly belligerent, hypersensitive, or emotionally disorganized, or is his personality changing?
- Is the person angry at a supervisor or co-worker or unnaturally obsessed with her?
- Is the person upset about something at work, like a poor job evaluation?
- Is the person experiencing stressful difficulties outside of work, like a divorce or financial problems?
- Is the person talking about guns or violence? Does he have access to a gun?
Victims of these violent acts can suffer a variety of horrific injuries—some life-threatening. Common injuries victims suffer include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones and fractures
- Facial and jaw fractures
- Skull fractures and other head injuries
- Stab wounds
- Gunshot wounds
- Internal organ damage
Fight to Obtain the Workers’ Compensation Benefits You Deserve
If you are the victim of violence at your job, you may sadly face the added injustice of having to fight for the workers’ compensation benefits you need and deserve. Let Manfred Ricciardelli taken this burden off your shoulders. He has been helping workers like you who were injured at work for over 20 years.
Order our firm’s free book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know, to begin learning about your rights under New Jersey workers’ compensation laws. Then start an online chat to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Mr. Ricciardelli.