April is Workplace Violence Awareness Month and OSHA wants employers to consider adopting policies that protect workers.

The threat of workplace violence is real, as recent incidents in Georgia and Colorado show, and the pandemic has not slowed workplace violence incidents, OSHA said.

The agency encourages employers to develop a written workplace violence prevention policy.

“OSHA believes that a well-written and implemented workplace violence prevention program, combined with engineering controls, administrative controls, and training, can reduce the incidence of workplace violence in both the private sector and federal workplaces,” the agency said on its workplace violence webpage.

Of 5,147 fatal workplace injuries that occurred in the U.S. in 2017, 458 were cases of intentional injury by another person, OSHA said.

“However it manifests itself, workplace violence is a major concern for employers and employees nationwide,” the agency said.

At-Risk Groups

Although workplace violence can happen in any place at any time, certain groups of workers are at increased risk, OSHA said.

These include those who exchange money with the public, transport passengers and goods, work alone or in small groups late at night or early in the morning, and come in close contact with others through patient care.

Workplace violence can involve employees, customers, or clients, and threats can come from fellow workers, supervisors, managers, a domestic partner, current or former spouse, OSHA said.

The increased threat of workplace violence during the pandemic due to face masks and social distancing prompted the CDC to develop guidance.

In fact, at CBIA’s recent 2021 Human Resources Conference, Linda Blozie of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence encouraged employers to adopt a domestic violence workplace policy to protect employees and the business.

The increased threat of workplace violence during the pandemic due to face masks and social distancing prompted the CDC to develop guidance for the retail and service that addresses workplace violence.

The guidance has strategies to limit violence toward workers that may occur due to policies designed to minimize the spread of COVID.

Employer Steps

Employers can take steps to limit COVID-related workplace violence by:

  • Limiting interaction with customers through curbside pickup and home delivery
  • Posting signs on policies for face masks, social distancing, and the maximum people allowed inside
  • Advertising these policies on your website
  • Training workers on threat recognition, conflict resolution, and nonviolent response
  • Establishing steps to assess and respond to workplace violence
  • Installing security systems, panic buttons, and training workers on how to use them

In addition, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has these resources to help reduce workplace violence. 

For more information, contact CBIA’s Phillip Montgomery (860.244.1982).