Occupational violence is terrifying, and unfortunately, it is on the rise in the United States. You may never experience this type of violence, but it is vital to learn all that you can about it. Read Greathouse Trial Law’s blog to know what to do if occupational violence occurs in the workplace.
What is occupational violence?
Occupational violence is a term that refers to any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening behaviors that occur at work. It includes gun violence, which is also on the rise in the United States.
According to Amnesty International, gun violence is any violence committed with firearms. Firearms can include pistols, handguns, shotguns, machine guns, or assault rifles. Unfortunately, gun violence is the leading cause of premature death in the United States.
Depending on your job, you may be more or less at risk for workplace violence. However, it’s important to remember that Georgia ranks 16th in the nation for the highest gun death rate. We can all fall victim to workplace violence, so it’s essential to stay updated with the best practices.
Why does occupational violence occur?
Occupational violence, including gun violence, can sometimes occur in the workplace. Violence can occur from criminal intent, customers or clients, co-workers or former employees, or personal relationships.
When it comes to violence from customers, co-workers, or personal relationships, there are a few different causes. Lack of pre-employment screening, absence of employee assistance programs, stress, disgruntled customers, and former employees can cause workplace violence.
Because there are so many different causes of occupational violence, it can be hard to prevent it. The best that we can do is stay aware of our surroundings, have a plan, and seek necessary resources.
What do you do when occupational violence occurs?
Occupational violence can encompass so many different scenarios, so we will look at what you can do during these two situations.
Gun Violence in the Workplace
When facing an active shooter situation at work, you have three options: run, hide, and fight. Running is the safest option, and your top priority should be to get away from the attacker. Leave your personal belongings behind and call 911 once you are safe.
Your second option is to hide, which you should use only if you can’t evacuate from the situation. Stay out of view of the attacker, turn off the lights, lock and block doors, and stay silent. Hiding is the second-safest option in an active shooter situation.
Fighting should be your last resort and should only be used if you can’t run or hide. If you choose to fight, you should be aggressive and commit to your actions. Recruit others to ambush the attacker with makeshift weapons, and be prepared to cause severe or lethal injury.
Assault in the Workplace
While we hear about gun violence more often, assault in the workplace can still be fatal. If there is an immediate threat, you should call 911 as soon as possible. Calling emergency services is especially important if you need medical or law enforcement assistance.
Remain calm, and contact your supervisor. They will need to know about the incident and that emergency services are on their way. After reaching 911 and your supervisor, you should secure your safety and leave the area if needed.
Once emergency services arrive, you will need to cooperate with them. You may need to describe the person, what happened, and where the incident occurred.
What are the warning signs of occupational violence?
Occasionally, there are warning signs of occupational violence to look for. If someone is intimidating, bullying, disrespecting, verbally abusing, or not cooperating with others, you should report your concerns to your supervisor and document the behavior.
Additional warning signs include:
- Arguing with customers, vendors, co-workers, or management
- Refusing to obey policies and procedures
- Sabotaging equipment and stealing property
- Verbalizing wishes to hurt co-workers or management
- Sending threatening notes to co-workers or management
- Seeing self as victimized by management
- Threatening suicide
- Starting physical fights
- Destroying property
- Displaying extreme rage
- Using weapons to harm others
- Using alcohol or drugs excessively
- Declining job performance
- Resisting changes at work
- Persistent complaining about unfair treatment
After occupational violence, can you file a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim?
Depending on the cause and severity of workplace violence, you may be able to file for workers’ compensation. Your employer does have a responsibility to keep you safe from harm, especially concerning occupational violence.
Workers’ compensation claims apply if occupational violence from a customer, client, co-worker, or former employee caused your injuries. However, the incident must have occurred due to the employment, and you must not have been the aggressor. You will need to prove that your personal actions did not cause the injury.
If you feel like someone could have done more to prevent the violence, you could additionally file a personal injury claim against the company that manages your workplace’s property. You may also be able to file a personal injury claim against the aggressor.
Speak to an Expert
Occupational violence is terrifying and can leave you with lifelong injuries and trauma. However, you still have options, like filing for workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim. After workplace violence occurs, it’s critical to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney.
Contact us today at (678) 310-2827 or complete our online form for your free case evaluation. Our personal injury law firm aims to serve the great people of Atlanta and to give a voice to the voiceless.
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