10 Nov Workplace Violence Grows in Arizona and Around the Country: Making Sure You Get the Most Benefit Out of Workers’ Compensation
Paying Close Attention to Who is Around You at Work
Workplace violence is rising where people work, but there are steps to help you protect yourself from a sudden attack you did not see coming. Always be aware of your surroundings the minute you step out your front door. Know exactly who is close by you so you can avoid suddenly getting cornered in a bad spot. Put the phone in your pocket and, instead, observe your environment.
When you start a new job with a company, whether it is a manufacturing company, a construction operation, or you go to work at a fast-food restaurant, start learning who everyone is that works at your place. Be friendly, but not overly so, and learn people’s names. Of importance is watching people and how they operate on the job. You will soon see who have problems with working and noting those workers who are committed to doing a good job.
Watch for people (workers or customers) who appear zoned out, who are slow to move around and get things done, if even that much. Someone who may be on drugs or very ill is a danger not only to themselves but also to you and the other hard-working employees, as well as customers if you are working in a fast-food restaurant.
It is important that everyone (at least the responsible ones) take part in protecting the workplace, know how to recognize when workers or customers may be “off” and can notify protective services (if there are any) to watch them and act if a problem arises.
Suggest to your employer that the company begin a workplace violence prevention program, starting with one designed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that fits the current industry you are working in. The web page link above has many programs offered to address different industries and workplace settings, including sexual harassment, which can also be violent, whether physically or emotionally, or both.
Nurses and, occasionally, doctors are assaulted in hospitals at growing alarming rates. While every job will have some stress attached to the duties that must be done, if you fear going to work because customers or other workers are increasingly belligerent to those around them, then employers must make changes, including hiring security personnel to monitor their workplace.
Injured on the Job Due to Violence
Arizona workers’ compensation insurance covers most accidents and injuries occurring on worksites. It is the business of the employer, however, to make the company’s workplace a safe place so that goals for producing products, materials, and other services are met without fear of injury from another worker or from an outside intruder.
Sexual harassment is also another form of violence in the workplace that needs to be eradicated. If you go to work, fearing that the boss will accost you in an empty hallway or office, then any events of attempted advances should be reported, and steps are taken to address the situation. For the victim, the first step should be is to gather evidence. It is important that the victim consults with an attorney first in order to know how to gather evidence that will stand scrutiny in a courtroom.
Employers should understand that when it comes to violence through sexual harassment on the job, should an employee be injured, due to assault or through retaliation, injuries sustained are covered by workers’ compensation benefits. But there is a larger issue: sexual harassment and assault, as with any other type of physical assault and injury, is a criminal act. In Arizona, sexual assault is a class 2 felony, governed by A.R.S. § 13-1406. The penalties can be very severe, depending on the circumstances and evidence.
Hiring Security Firms for Protection
Should an employer reject or appear not to do anything about implementing a safety program of this nature, it would be time to contact OSHA about the need for having one put in place to benefit all employees. It is unclear why any Arizona employer would not have such preventative programs in place to help employees know what to do if violence occurs in the workplace. Security protocols are also important to have in places such as armed guards, who are often retired police officers or former military personnel.
A recent post from a security firm in California notes that more businesses in the region are turning to hire security guards to protect businesses. Businesses are also installing security cameras, installing more lights, and developing emergency procedures to combat rising crime in the area.
Call Us for Help with Your Claim if You Experienced Violence on the Job
Keep yourself protected and, any time you leave work, travel in twos or threes to your vehicles and ensure everyone is visibly seen getting safely into their vehicle. You can never be too careful in looking after yourself and your fellow workers.
Arizona Injury Law Group offers experienced and Certified workers’ compensation lawyers and legal services for injured workers. Call for your free consultation! 602-346-9009.