June is National Safety Month. Typically, when we think of workplace safety our minds go to back injuries or carpal tunnel. And this time of year, safety around the house means steadying the ladder and making sure kids are safe around the pool. But the National Safety Council has some sobering statistics that we, as employers and employees, can’t ignore.
Every year, millions of American workers report having been victims of workplace violence. In 2017, assaults resulted in 18,400 injuries and 458 fatalities, according to Injury Facts®.
Workplace violence is an emerging risk that we have to prepare for. It’s about protecting ourselves, our employees and our business. There are three areas that you should focus on:
- Have a plan to prepare for the unexpected
- Be alert to what’s going on with the people around you
- Know what to do if you hare in a hostile situation
Have a plan. When we do an onsite risk assessment for our commercial clients, we’re considering the work environment and looking for ways to make it more secure. Is there sufficient lighting, are you in a high crime area, are there policies in place to assist employees that feel threatened, is there a lobby buffer to slow down a possible attack?
Be alert. It’s unrealistic to know what’s going on in everyone’s personal lives and some people are really good at hiding their emotions. Still, we can all be aware of the signs of a troubled employee or co-worker and there are certain situations that have the potential of escalating. As a business, it’s important to have policies in place where people can feel comfortable expressing concerns. We can provide clients with the resources for employee handbook assistance.
Know how to respond. If you are involved in a situation, the Department of Homeland Security advises you employ one of three options; run, hide, or fight. Everyone should be trained in how to respond to an event. Participating in mock training exercises with local law enforcement can help you react quickly in a chaotic situation.
When it comes to insurance, carriers offer added coverage for workplace violence. One example is a workplace violence coverage endorsement that can be added to Management Liability Coverage. It’s important to know what’s covered under workers comp, liability or an umbrella policy. Meeting with your Personal or Commercial Risk Consultant can help you determine if you have any gaps that need to be addressed.
Client Relations Manager