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Workplace Violence in Massachusetts Ranks as Top Cause of Work-Related Injury

Workplace violence ranks as the second most common cause of work-related injury and death in the United States after automobile accidents. Massachusetts workplace violence was the third most common cause of death and injury in 2010. About a dozen workers were either assaulted or the victim of a violent attack on the job in our state in 2010. An employer is required to provide safe working conditions for all employees. These measures include protection from violent employees.
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There is a new system to look into the causes and results of workplace violence. A new directive has been added to the Enforcement Procedures for Investigating or Inspecting Incidents of Workplace Violence by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The new directive now provides a new list of procedures for OSHA field staff who are responding to complaints and incidents of violent acts that have been committed in the workplace. They now have a new way of conducting critical inspections in industries that have been deemed as high risk for workplace violence. These risky industries include social service settings, heathcare and late-night retail establishments.

Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys understand that violence in the workplace has been ranked as one of the top four cases of on-the-job-related injury and death repeatedly for the last 15 years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there have been more than 3,000 work-related fatalities as a direct result of workplace homicide that happened from 2006 to 2010. Workplace violence has also resulted in approximately 15,000 injuries during the same time.

One example of this cause of workplace injury and death was discovered repeatedly at a Maine psychiatric hospital. More than 90 incidents were cited from 2008 to 2010 to be exact. The hospital has been cited to not offering its employees critical safeguards against violence in the workplace. The hospital has also received a proposed fine of approximately $6,000. Facilities in Massachusetts and in New York have also been cited as a result reported workplace assaults.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and a number of other organizations have conducted studies that conclude that employers who enact effective safety measures can in fact reduce the number of incidents of violence in the workplace. These safety measures should include encouraging working to report mere threats or actual assaults, employees should be provided with workplace violence training and an employer should conduct an analysis of workplace violence at the specific work site. Some other safety measures can include front door buzzers and detector systems in high-risk retail establishments and offering employees a “safe room” that they can use during risky situations.

You can check out OSHA website for more information on how to prevent violence in the workplace in late-night retail establishments and in healthcare and social service settings.

If you’ve been injured as the result of a violent work incident in the Boston area, contact Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Attorney Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-877-617-5333.

More Blog Entries:

Grain Bins Increasing Risks of Work-Related Accidents in Boston and Elsewhere, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, September 2, 2011

OSHA Releases New App to Help Prevent Heat-Related Work Injuries in Massachusetts and Elsewhere, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, August 28, 2011