Most workers are aware of the hazards involved with their job. For example, construction workers know that they are in danger of falls, electrocution, and being injured by untrained co-workers.
On the other hand, nurses know that lifting a patient can be very strenuous and cause back injuries, while grocery store cashiers are usually aware that repetitive motion injuries can injure their wrists.
What too many workers don’t take into account is a less-known cause of workplace injuries and fatalities – it’s called workplace violence.
Workplace violence is a catchall term that includes any threat of violence, or physical violence against workers. It can be perpetrated by managers, co-workers, or it can even be caused by co-workers’ spouses, or customers.
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), it ranges from verbal abuse to physical assaults, to even homicide. OSHA reports that workplace violence is one of the leading causes of job-related deaths in the United States.
WHICH WORKERS ARE AT RISK?
Sadly, around 2 million workers are victimized by workplace violence each year in America. It can strike anywhere, and at any time; no worker is completely immune. However, some workers in certain occupations are more vulnerable, thus they face a greater risk.
You are at greater risk if you work under these conditions:
- You exchange cash with the public
- You deliver passengers
- You deliver goods or services
- You work alone
- You work in a small group
- You work late at night
- Your work in the early morning hours
- You work in a high-crime area
- You have extensive contact with the public
While cashiers at convenient stores and gas stations may come to mind right away, healthcare and social service workers, visiting nurses, psychiatric evaluators, probation officers, cable TV installers, mail carriers, taxi drivers, and retail workers are also at an increased risk.
All workers have a right to a safe workplace, and your employer is required by law to provide you with working conditions that are free from known dangers. Under OSHA law, your employer cannot retaliate against you for reporting your injury, or otherwise exercising your rights.
If you have sustained injuries due to workplace violence, do not hesitate to contact a New York workers’ compensation lawyer from Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman. In a free case evaluation, we would be glad to answer your questions and explain your legal options for compensation.