According to OSHA, about two million American workers are victims of workplace violence each year. And it is a growing concern for employers and employees nationwide.
The question that many HR managers and employers have is what are the responsibilities of the business when it comes to workplace violence? With the recent and seemingly frequent incidents of violence in the workplace, it is a real concern for companies.
Workplace Violence In America
A recent shooting in Illinois highlights the extreme level that workplace violence can attain.
According to an article from CNN, on February 15, 2019, an employee at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, Illinois opened fire with a handgun after he was fired, killing five co-workers and wounding five police officers. The victims included a human resources manager, a human resources intern and a plant manager at the valve manufacturing company where the gunman worked for 15 years.
The article quoted Kathleen Bonczyk, the founder and executive director of the Florida-based non-profit Workplace Violence Prevention Institute,
"The point of termination is perhaps the greatest opportunity for deadly workplace violence."
Bonczyk went on to note in the article that employers should look for warnings when first interviewing potential employees. These can include marital problems and domestic violence, previous disputes with co-workers, financial stress and drug and alcohol abuse.
Employers and Workplace Violence
Under federal law, employers have a legal obligation to maintain a safe work environment free of “recognized hazards” that are likely to result in serious injuries (29 U.S.C. § 654). OSHA interprets those safety hazards as including threats of workplace violence, which the agency defines as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.”
While OSHA may impose fines for safety violations, but federal law does not give employees the right to sue employers who fail to provide a safe workplace.
However, it is in the best interests of every employer and manager to implement and follow policies and guidelines designed to minimize occurrences of workplace violence.
OSHA provides the following tips for employers:
■ Provide safety education for employees so they know what conduct is not acceptable, what to do if they witness or are subjected to workplace violence, and how to protect themselves.
■ Secure the workplace. Where appropriate to the business, install video surveillance, extra lighting, and alarm systems and minimize access by outsiders through identification badges, electronic keys, and guards.
■ Provide drop safes to limit the amount of cash on hand. Keep a minimal amount of cash in registers during evenings and late night hours.
■ Equip field staff with cellular phones and hand-held alarms or noise devices, and require them to prepare a daily work plan and keep a contact person informed of their location throughout the day. Keep employer provided vehicles properly maintained.
■ Instruct employees not to enter any location where they feel unsafe. Introduce a “buddy system” or provide an escort service or police assistance in potentially dangerous situations or at night.
■ Develop policies and procedures covering visits by home health-care providers.Address the conduct of home visits, the presence of others in the home during visits, and the worker’s right to refuse to provide services in a clearly hazardous situation.
HR and Workforce Management
Outsourcing HR functions is an increasingly common strategy for small businesses and the advantages are worth asking about. In addition to reducing your in-house costs, increasing accuracy and security, you can also benefit by freeing your HR resources for improving operational functions, recruiting efforts, and training.
When it comes to payroll management, you have a number of options for your HR and payroll staff. Software that can be installed in-house, or cloud-based programs offer a good alternative. But if you really want to take full advantage of the benefits available to you, outsourcing to a provider like Accuchex can still be the best decision.
Reliability, full-service options, and reputation are the hallmarks of a quality HR management service provider. If you are currently looking to invest in outsourcing you get your Free Download: California Labor Law guide to help you make an informed decision or call Accuchex Payroll Management Services at 877-422-2824.