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Common Types of Workplace Violence: Know Your Risks

February 14, 2019


Workplace violence is a very real threat which can occur in any type of occupation. While injuries you sustain as a result may be covered through the state workers’ compensation program, preventing these types of incidents should be a primary concern. Take it upon yourself to know the four most common ways in which workplace violence occurs and what you can do to keep yourself safe.


Violence in the Workplace

According to the United States Department of Labor (DOL), workplace violence consists of any type of physical assault, as well as harassment, intimidation, threats, or other types of disruptive behavior. Unfortunately, these types of incidents make headlines on a regular basis. As many as two million acts of violence on the job are reported each year, while it is estimated that countless others go unreported.


All workers should be aware of the potential risks and should be knowledgeable about how and when these incidents commonly occur. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified four common types of threats:


  • Acts of violence committed by fellow employees: One of the scenarios that most people are familiar with is when a disgruntled current or former employee commits a violent act as a form of spite or revenge.

  • Acts of violence committed by clients or customers: Anyone who deals with the public on a regular basis knows the verbal abuse that they can be subject to by unhappy customers or clients. Unfortunately, this can escalate to acts of violence.

  • Acts of violence committed by personal friends or relatives: An unhappy spouse, child, or former friend can wreak havoc in the workplace, impacting the intended target and other employees as well.

  • Acts of violence committed by strangers: These often involve senseless acts committed by people for no known reason and with no known affiliation to the company or their employees.


Protecting Yourself

OSHA advises that all employers should have policies in place to deal with all four types of workplace violence that may occur. These may run the gamut from securing work environments and only allowing certified personal access or entry to reporting procedures designed to protect anonymity while encouraging concrete actions. To protect yourself, it is important to take the following steps:


  • Take all threats seriously and do not downplay or make excuses for bad behavior.

  • Report any threats, verbal abuse, intimidation, or physical acts immediately to your supervisor.

  • If dealing with an irate customer or client, attempt to de-escalate the situation and notify security.

  • Be aware of entrances and exits in your workplace environment, as well as alarms which can be triggered if an act of violence occurs.


Reach Out to Us for Help

Working in a hostile work environment can wreak havoc on your health, while acts of violence could put your life in jeopardy. If you are experiencing these types of problems at your workplace, the Surasky Law Firm, LLC. is here to help. Contact our Aiken workers’ compensation attorney and request a consultation today.




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