August 24, 2022

In Harm’s Way: The Impact of Violence in Workers’ Comp

Exposure to violence can have serious impacts on worker health. Violence in the workplace may cause direct injury and other types of violence can also be a concern in workers’ compensation. Violence that takes place outside the workplace, including domestic and community violence, can adversely affect overall health and job performance, lead to accidents, and impede recovery.


Workplace Violence

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) definition of workplace violence is broad and includes “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site” and, by this standard, over 2 million workers are affected by violence every year. In 2019, over 20,000 workers experienced trauma from workplace violence that was serious enough to require time away from work – most commonly in the healthcare industry, which accounted for 71% of the incidents.

Types of Workplace Violence:

1. Criminal Intent – Generally perpetrated by a stranger intent on crime that is unrelated to the business or the workers

2. Customer/Client – Violence committed by someone the organization serves, such as patients in a healthcare setting

3. Worker-On-Worker – Conflict, altercations, and harassment between workers, as well as extreme violence, such as workplace shootings by current or former employees

4. Personal/Domestic Relationship – Usually current or former intimate partners who assault, harass, or intimidate their victims at their place of work

Domestic Violence

98% of domestic violence survivors reported that the abuse they experienced made it difficult for them to concentrate at work. Of the nearly 100% who had difficulty concentrating, 17% said that the lack of concentration resulted in a work accident or near miss, with 65% of the accidents resulting in injuries.6 These numbers are considerable, especially considering that, according to one study, 21% of fulltime employed adults reported that they were victims of domestic violence.

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