Workplace Violence & Workers Compensation

Posted: June 9, 2015

Work place violence is generally broken up into four offending groups. Criminals which comprises approximately 80% of work place homicides with the motive usually theft. The second group would be violence directed at employees by customers, clients, patients, students, inmates, or others customers the company provides services to. The third group consists of acts committed by a present or former employee and the fourth group would be people who don’t work at the company but have a relationship with an employee. Some examples of this can be a spouse, jilted lover or stalker. This potentially can be the most dangerous case scenario in many ways. There may have been warning signs but the company felt it wasn’t any of their business because it was the employee’s personal life.
The key element to prevention of any of these areas is the recognition and awareness of potential warning signs, training and rapid response to a potential volatile situation.
Unfortunately, there is no way to accurately profile a potentially violent person but there are indicators you should be watching for in their actions. Warning signs of violent behavior may be classified into three levels.

No one sign should be the deciding factor in decision making; although, a combination of the signs may be good indicators of violence.

Some of the signs you can look for are intimidating behaviors:
• Discourteous and disrespectful,
• Uncooperative
• Verbally abusive

Escalated behaviors may include:
• Argue with customers, vendors, coworkers, or management
• Refuse to obey agency policies or procedures
• Sabotage equipment or steal property for revenge
• Verbalize wishes to hurt coworkers or management
• Stalk, harass, or show undue focus on another person
• Make direct or indirect threats to coworkers or management (in person, in writing, by phone)
• View their self as victimized by management (me against them) and talk about “getting even.”

The most serious actions usually end in an emergency response:
• Suicidal threats
• Physical fights or assaults of coworker(s) or manager(s)
• Damage or destruction of property
• Concealment or use of a weapon to harm others
• Display of extreme rage or physically aggressive acts, throwing or striking objects, shaking fists, verbally cursing at others, pounding on desks, punching walls, or angrily jumping up and down.

Dealing with an employee exhibiting these signs will not only take a toll on the management it will soon effect the coworkers as well. Managing this employee rapidly is vital to the health and wellbeing of the staff as well as the employee. Developing and implementing an action plan and policy is vital.

One of the areas of interest or concern for a business owner is compensability of a claim for employees affected by these actions. A workplace violence claim is judged on the merits of compensability, which is determined based on whether the incident “arose out of” and “occurred in the course of” the employees employment. The mere fact that injury occurred on-site does not necessarily make it a compensatory claim. If an injury occurs away from the workplace it does not necessarily exclude a claim from the bounds of workers’ compensation. The actions of the employees involved in the incident is a key element of a claims investigation.

Unfortunately, in the current environment we live in we are not immune from workplace violence. Whether it is the beheading of an employee in Kansas or the shooting of an employee in New York, the reality is the only way we can control these activities is training, prevention programs and realistic practice scenarios. According to the bureau of labor statistics 70% of workplaces have no formal policy or programs addressing work place violence.

For more information contact the Van Gorp Group at www.vangorpgroup.com
The Van Gorp Group has many years of “real life” experience and training. Our trainers are not only educated with credentials in these areas, many of our instructors continue to work in the field when they are not teaching. By being involved in their areas of expertise, we can ensure that their skills and knowledge are based on current best practices. Our training team is supplemented with guest lectures from all areas of the topics taught. Our courses can be tailor made to your specifications, time tables and locations.
All of our training is fast paced, hands on and interesting. From hands on shooting scenarios to security design we can provide the training and experience that will make a difference in your business, educational institute or house of worship.

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