Workplace Violence & Workers' Compensation

Posted By Katz Leidman Grossman Wolfe & Freund || 6-Nov-2017

Most workers are familiar with workers’ compensation; they understand that if they are injured in an accident while working, that they can file a workers’ compensation claim. However, one issue that’s less talked about is workplace violence.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” For workers’ compensation purposes, we’re not interested in threats, but we are interested in “acts of physical violence” that lead to work-related injuries.

OSHA goes on to say that workplace violence “ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide.” So, who are the perpetrators of workplace violence? It can be fellow employees, managers, clients, customers, and visitors. It can even be a co-worker’s former spouse, or a current husband or wife who is subject to an active domestic violence protective order.

How Serious is the Problem?

According to OSHA, workplace violence affects nearly 2 million American workers every year. OSHA says that the following factors increase the risk of workplace violence:

  • Exchanging money with the public.
  • Working with unstable people.
  • Working with volatile people.
  • Providing care or services directly to people.
  • Working in a high crime neighborhood.
  • Working late at night.
  • Being a delivery driver.
  • Being a health professional.
  • Working in law enforcement.
  • Working in customer service.
  • Working alone or in a small group.
  • Working in establishments that serve alcohol.

According to the National Safety Council, while car accidents are the leading cause of death among workers, “violence is the third leading cause for healthcare workers, and employees in professional and business services like education, law and media.”

The NSC goes on to say, “No matter who initiates the confrontation, the deadliest situations involve an active shooter.” That being said, every workplace must address the issue of workplace violence, which includes zero-tolerance policies, employee training and emergency action plans.

To file a workers’ compensation claim in New York because of workplace violence, contact Katz Leidman Grossman Wolfe & Freund today.