As recent events around the country continue to show us, unfortunately there is no workplace that is immune from intruders, crime, or violence. We hear about a shooting in a workplace, school, college, university, library, hospital or other place of mass gathering every few months now, in both large and small towns. Over the past few years there has been a significant increase in the number of indiscriminate shootings of innocent people in public buildings.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines workplace violence as "violent acts (including physical assaults and threats of assaults) directed toward persons at work or on duty." Workplace violence is any physical assault, threatening behavior or verbal abuse occurring in the work setting. Workplace violence presents serious occupational safety hazards for workers and unique challenges for employers who must prevent violence from occurring. During the last decade homicide was the third leading cause of death for all workers and the leading cause of occupational death for female workers. A large number of these reported homicides were related to robberies and police and public security functions. The majority of violent type incidents affecting workplaces are cases of assaults, threats, domestic violence, forms of harassment and physical and/or emotional abuse.
The first people on the scene of these types of incidents are managers, supervisors and other employees. This has put our employees in the forefront of a crisis. Training on-scene personnel in the initial actions to make a difference and potentially save lives during the crucial first couple of minutes before police arrive on the scene is vital. Effective crisis management is critical to the safety of your employees, visitors and other individuals in your workplace.
On June 7, 2006, New York State enacted legislation creating a new Section 27-b of State Labor Law that requires public employers (other than schools covered under the school safety plan requirements of the education law) to perform a workplace evaluation or risk evaluation at each worksite and to develop and implement programs to prevent and minimize workplace violence caused by assaults and homicides. The Law is designed to ensure that the risk of workplace assaults and homicides are regularly evaluated by public employers and that workplace violence protection programs are implemented to prevent and minimize the hazard to public employees. According to the law, the term public employer includes the state, a political subdivision of the state, a public authority, a public benefit corporation and any other governmental agency or instrumentality.
The Law requires every public employer to perform a risk evaluation of their workplace to determine the presence of factors or situations that might place employees at risk from occupational assaults and homicides, prepare a workplace violence prevention program and inform and train employees on the requirements of the Law and the workplace risk factors that were identified. Additionally, public employers with a combined total of 20 or more full-time permanent employees shall develop and implement a written workplace violence prevention program and provide employee training on workplace violence prevention measures and other information contained within the employers written program. Such employers shall also inform employees of the location and availability of the written workplace violence prevention program.
Employee workplace violence training must be provided at the time of job assignment and annually thereafter. The written workplace violence prevention program should be pro-active, capable of assessing potential threats before they occur, and capable of responding to actual incidents immediately.The Workplace Violence Prevention for Public Employers training seminar is designed to bridge the gap between responding law enforcement officers and the employees in your workplace. This seminar will focus on assisting employees in their ability to: prevent; prepare; report; and protect themselves and others in the workplace from an act of violence. It will prepare participants to provide law enforcement officers with the necessary information to properly respond to these extremely difficult situations.
This one-hour seminar covers the following topics: What is Workplace Violence, Managements’ commitment to Zero Tolerance of Workplace Violence, Techniques on how to recognize and avoid Workplace Violence situations, What are the high risk occupations, How to report a Workplace Violence incident, The importance of reporting all incidents, How and when incidents will be investigated by the employer, Where employees can go for assistance and recordkeeping requirements. This seminar is designed to facilitate discussions about the development of effective crisis management protocols used to deal with emergency situations and demonstrate the lessons learned throughout the presentation.