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Workplace injury: Violence suffered by 2 million workers annually

Workers nationwide, including those here in California, are entitled to workplace environments that protect health and safety. Employers are required to provide safe workplaces, which includes addressing any threats of violence that can lead to a workplace injury. Census statistics of the Bureau of Labor indicates that 4,679 fatal workplace injuries occurred in 2014 in the United States. Reportedly, 403 of those deaths were work-related homicides.

Although many cases go unreported, it is estimated that about 2 million workers per year nationwide are subjected to workplace violence. Although physical violence can occur in any work environment, some workers are at a higher risk of suffering it. These include those who work alone or in isolated areas and in places where alcohol is consumed. Working with the public, especially in circumstances in which money changes hands, can also be conducive to violence.

Health care workers are often threatened and even assaulted, and individuals who work late night shifts in any industry are vulnerable. To reduce the risks of employees falling victim to violence, employers can identify known dangers and develop a protocol of zero tolerance to workplace violence. Such a policy must cover all workers and those who come into contact with company employees.

Unfortunately, unanticipated circumstances may lead to an assault that can cause a workplace injury. California workers who suffer an on-the-job injury are typically entitled to pursue benefits claims through the workers' compensation insurance program. Injured workers typically receive compensation for medical expenses related to their injuries, along with financial assistance to replace lost income caused by absences from work while recuperating.

Source: osha.gov, "Safety and Health Topics", Accessed on Jan. 2, 2016

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