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Workplace accidents increasingly include gun violence

Statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration show that Texas workers are at risk of suffering a variety of injuries from workplace incidents. Some of these workplace accidents even lead to death, including those involving disgruntled employees and even dissatisfied clients. American workplaces have a responsibility to keep their workers safe from on-the-job violence, though many are failing to do so. In most cases, managers are completely unprepared to protect employees from workplace violence. There are some steps these employers could be taking, however, to improve worker safety, providing additional security to limit the number of workplace accidents.

Many of the workplace accident problems that arise because of employee violence have their origin in poor hiring practices. Employers are often rushing to hire new workers, and they do not correctly evaluate their potential employees. Companies have many resources to lower their likelihood of hiring a violent worker, including drug testing and background checks. Hiring managers can reduce the risk of workplace violence by simply asking revealing questions.

Gun violence is definitely a cause of workplace accidents throughout the nation; think of the recent incidents at Fort Hood and Sandy Hook Elementary, during which workers were killed or injured because of a disgruntled gunman. Some gun violence starts with cyberbullying and workplace intimidation. Employers are encouraged to prevent cyberbullying by instituting a zero-tolerance policy. Employees should also feel comfortable reporting being victimized by such misconduct. Workers who think their safety has been compromised by a negligent employer may be entitled to financial compensation, even after such a gun-related incident.

Work-related deaths in Texas include safety and security failures of all kinds. Victims can suffer fatal workplace accidents because of machines and equipment, though humans are also often to blame. Workplace violence is everyone's problem; when security systems fail, employees pay the price.

Source: Government Executive, "4 Ways the Workplace Has Become More Dangerous" Harold Valentine, Apr. 16, 2014

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