Nearly half of U.S. employers report that they’re unprepared to prevent and respond to workplace violence, so the National Safety Council developed a new report and playbook to address this.
In 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found nearly one in six work-related fatalities stemmed from violent incidents.
Further, additional research shows the threat workplace violence poses to workers across all industries and occupations, revealing that:
- over the past decade, healthcare has consistently ranked as the industry most impacted by workplace violence, with an average of nearly 13,000 non-fatal violent incidents occurring annually
- behind transportation incidents, violence is the most common cause of death for women in the workplace
- frontline retail and transportation workers face the highest risk of criminal-perpetrated violence, and
- flight attendants, teachers and law enforcement officers are most susceptible to acts of violence committed by culprits.
Highlights violence trends, industry-specific risks
To address this gap in safety preparedness, NSC released a report and playbook Sept. 15, “Workplace Violence: Using Technology to Reduce Risk,” which is intended to equip organizations with information and solutions to more effectively mitigate and address workplace violence.
The report provides business leaders and safety professionals with “a foundation for understanding the top workplace violence trends and industry-specific risk factors, while offering a playbook to prevent on-the-job assaults and fatalities before they occur,” said Paul Vincent, NSC executive vice president of workplace practice.
According to the report, key steps employers can take to reduce workplace violence include:
- designating a workplace violence prevention task force that is likely to have an existing rapport with employees, making them ideally equipped to perform trainings on sensitive safety topics
- conducting regular table-top exercises or simulations to engage key stakeholders, identify gaps in existing prevention plans and clarify worker responsibilities in emergency situations
- utilizing technology to prevent workplace hazards with applications of 10 key technologies, such as digital floorplan mapping, virtual reality training and weapon detection systems, and
- fostering a workplace culture in which psychological safety is prioritized, and where all workers feel empowered to voice concerns and initiate broader safety conversations.