The already-high stakes of workplace violence recently got raised.
For the first time, OSHA has given its inspectors guidelines for investigating violent incidents at work – and chances are they’ll respond with more inspections and fines.
Employers in high-risk businesses like health care, low-income services and retail banking are the most likely to be inspected.
But any employer can be the target of a post-violence inspection if three or more people are hurt, or one is killed, and OSHA deems the incident resulted from a “workplace hazard” — which could range from a particularly risky time of day, to a dangerous location.
One way of minimizing workplace violence: Train people to recognize the tell-tale signs that someone is likely to turn violent, and encourage them to report such signs.
Watch out for employees who:
- are feared or considered unpleasantly odd by a number of co-workers.
- obsess about something – the job, a celebrity, a co-worker who has no interest in them.
- regularly claim they are being unfairly targeted by co-workers or management, or that conspiracies are controlling politics or economics.
- frequently grow angry or argumentative.
- express desperation about financial, family or personal matters.
- constantly want to “get” someone for wronging them.
- talk a lot about media reports of violence, and/or the killing power of weapons.
See the OSHA guidelines at: www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/index.html
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