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How Big a Problem Is Workplace Violence?

You expect your Iowa workplace to be safe, healthy and free of violence. Unfortunately, however, reality may not live up to your expectations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that over 2 million employees each year report that they suffer some form of workplace violence. In 2014 alone, 403 workers died due to workplace homicide, which was the fourth leading cause of on-the-job fatalities that year.

Workplace violence takes a variety of forms including the following:

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

Those at risk

While it is true that workplace violence can affect customers, clients and visitors as well as workers, nevertheless your risk of experiencing it increases dramatically if your job includes any of the following:

  • Exchanging money with customers
  • Working with unstable and/or volatile people
  • Working in a business that sells and/or serves alcohol
  • Working alone or in isolation
  • Working at night
  • Working in a high crime area

You are not required to put your life in danger when you go to work, unless, of course, you work as a firefighter, a law enforcement officer or a member of the military. For all other types of jobs, federal and state laws, plus OSHA regulations, require your employer to provide you with a safe and healthy workplace. Do not hesitate to report any incidence of workplace violence, however minor, and likewise, do not hesitate to report any unsafe or hazardous working conditions at your job site. This is general educational information only and not intended to provide legal advice.