Workplace Violence is Latest Business Concern
For most people, going to work every day isn’t expected to be a life-threatening experience. But more and more companies are finding there are risks in the workplace that have to be addressed as an insurance concern.
It is the employer’s responsibility, where possible, to provide a safe place for employees to do their work. Protection from workplace violence falls under the same umbrella as the OSHA rules that require a workplace to be free of hazards.
According to InsureCast, a professional liability insurance company, workplace violence is defined as any physical force or rough action intended to or resulting in physical or mental harm to people where they work for their living. Warning signs are numerous: dramatic behavior changes, making threats, blaming others, voicing disgruntlement in a chronic fashion, and initiating intimidation.
Costs relating to protecting employees from workplace violence and responding to workplace violence can include security systems and security personnel, payment of death benefits, loss of revenue from business interruption, property damage, medical expenses, legal liabilities, and training in dealing with workplace violence. Insurance companies are beginning to offer workplace violence insurance coverage that covers expenses such as these.
Companies considered to be at particular risk for workplace violence are those that handle large amounts of cash, deal with the public, stay open late at night, and those that deliver goods and services. Outside forces that can cause violent disruptions to business include criminals, disgruntled former employees, stalkers, and angry customers.
Another concern of all types of businesses is the buildup of stress among employees who are not skilled in finding conventional means of releasing stress. Internal problems that can result in workplace violence include compensation disputes, insurance costs, lost productivity, employee counseling, grievances, lawsuits, and extra security.