Violence inflicted upon employees may come from many sources. Workplace violence policies should indicate a zero-tolerance for violence of any kind. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) mandates that, in addition to compliance with hazard-specific standards, all employers have a general duty to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm. OSHA will rely on Section 5(a) of the OSH Act, the "General Duty Clause" for enforcement authority. Employers can be cited for violating the General Duty Clause if there is a recognized hazard of workplace violence in their establishments and they do nothing to prevent or abate it.
Workplace Violence Directory
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Notice: What is OSHA doing about workplace violence and why? OSHA has developed final "Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health Care and Social Service Workers" and draft guidelines for night retail establishments. The intent of the guidelines is to educate employers on finding ways to provide a more secure work environment. Consequently, OSHA hopes that employers will voluntarily implement workplace violence protection programs. Workplace violence has emerged as an important safety issue in today's workplaces. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) fatality data, assaults and violent acts cause 20 percent of the fatal occupational injuries in the United States. Homicide, the most extreme form of workplace violence, is the second leading cause of death. Homicides accounted for 1,071 of deaths, or 16 percent.