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How prevalent is workplace violence?

As a California worker, you expect to work in a safe and violence-free environment. As reasonable as those expectations are, however, you may be shocked to learn that over two million Americans report each year that they were victims of workplace violence. You may be even more shocked to learn that 403 American workers died in 2014 as the result of a workplace homicide, the fourth leading cause of workplace fatalities.

So says the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA also points out that workplace violence runs a gamut of activities including the following:

  • Threats of physical violence
  • Intimidation
  • Harassment
  • Verbal abuse
  • Assaults and batteries
  • Homicide

Who is most at risk?

While workplace violence can affect workers, customers, clients and visitors, you are most at risk if your job requires you to do one of the following:

  • Exchange money with members of the public
  • Work with volatile and/or unstable people
  • Work in an establishment that serves and/or sells alcohol
  • Work alone or in isolation
  • Work at night
  • Work in a high crime area

OSHA regulations

Federal and state laws, as well as OSHA regulations, require your employer to provide you with a safe and healthy workplace. They also protect you from employer retaliation if you raise a health or safety issue and/or file an OSHA complaint asking for a workplace inspection. If you believe that your workplace is unsafe, that you are in danger of becoming a victim of workplace violence, and/or that your employer is not adequately addressing your situation, this is exactly what you should do.

Other than military and law enforcement personnel and firefighters, workers are not required to put their lives in danger as part of their job. Know your rights and report any sign of workplace violence as soon as possible after it happens. This is general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice.

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