Workplace Violence: Trends and Impact on Human Resources

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  • 0:02 Workplace Violence
  • 0:57 The Stats
  • 2:03 Mitigating Violence
  • 3:33 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

The workplace can be a dangerous place, and many workers are victimized by violence while on the job every year. In this lesson, you'll learn about violence in the workplace and steps that HR can take to reduce it.

Workplace Violence

Marvin is a human resource specialist for a large company. His work focuses on employee safety and health, and he has a problem. Yesterday, a disgruntled employee started a fistfight with another employee, arising out of a heated disagreement. Both employees were fired for fighting, and one ended up in an emergency room with a concussion. After this incident, Marvin decided to do some research on violence in the workplace, and what he found shocked him.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines workplace violence as violence or the threat of violence against workers. It can occur at a work facility or outside of the workplace, such as a mailman being attacked by a dog while delivering a letter.

Workplace violence ranges from verbal threats and abuse to physical assaults and even homicide. In fact, Marvin was shocked to find out that homicide was one of the leading causes of death at work according to OSHA.

The Stats

According to OSHA, about two million workers are victimized by violence each year. This includes homicides. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found 13,827 employee homicides between 1992 and 2010. This is an average of 700 homicides per year at the workplace.

Marvin discovered that over 50% of workplace homicides occurred in just three occupational groups from 2003 to 2010. People in sales and related positions are the highest risk, accounting for 28% of homicides. Not too surprisingly, workers in protective service occupations contributed to 17% of the homicides. People in transportation and material moving accounted for 13% of the homicides at work.

While most acts of violence don't lead to death, many do lead to the ER. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated that more than 137,000 employees required treatment from an emergency room in 2009 from workplace violence.

Mitigating Violence

Marvin's job is to ensure that employees work in a healthy and safe environment. Consequently, he needs to develop a plan that will mitigate workplace violence. Let's take a look at some of the steps he can take.

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