With the recent occurrence of acts of violence throughout the U.S., OSHA has created the following directive CPL 02-01-058, Enforcement Procedures and Scheduling for Occupational Exposure to Workplace Violence. OSHA believes that a well-written and implemented workplace violence prevention program, combined with engineering controls, administrative controls, and training can reduce the incidence of workplace violence in both the private and public sector. General recommendations for all industries and administrative workplaces include:

Implement Engineering Controls, such as:

  • Assess any plans for new construction or physical changes to the facility or workplace to eliminate or reduce security hazards.
  • Install and regularly maintain alarm systems and other security devices, panic buttons, hand-held alarms or noise devices, cell phones and private channel radios where risk is apparent or may be anticipated. Arrange for a reliable response system when an alarm is triggered.
  • Provide metal detectors—installed or hand-held, where appropriate—to detect guns, knives or other weapons, according to the recommendations of security consultants.
  • Use a closed-circuit recording on a 24-hour basis for high-risk areas.
  • Place curved mirrors at hallway intersections or concealed areas.
  • Lock all unused doors to limit access, in accordance with local fire codes.
  • Install bright, effective lighting, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Replace burned-out lights and broken windows and locks.
  • Keep automobiles well maintained if they are used in the field.
  • Lock automobiles at all times.

Implement Administrative Controls to change work practices and management policies in order to reduce exposure to hazards. Such controls include:

  • Conduct a workplace violence hazard analysis (this includes analyzing vehicles used to transport clients).
  • Provide employees with training on workplace violence.
  • Establish liaisons with local police and state prosecutors. Report all incidents of violence. Give police physical layouts of facilities to expedite investigations.
  • Require employees to report all assaults or threats to a supervisor or manager (in addition, address concerns where the perpetrator is the manager). Keep log books and reports of such incidents to help determine any necessary actions to prevent recurrences.
  • Advise employees of company procedures for requesting police assistance or filing charges when assaulted and help them do so,if necessary.
  • Provide management support during emergencies. Respond promptly to all complaints.
  • Set up a trained response team to respond to emergencies.
  • Use properly trained security officers to deal with aggressive behavior. Follow written security procedures.
  • Develop, or improve upon a preexisting, written, comprehensive workplace violence prevention program.

According to CPL 02-01-058, a written, comprehensive workplace violence prevention program should include:

  • A policy statement regarding potential violence in the workplace and assignment of oversight and prevention responsibilities.
  • A workplace violence hazard assessment and security analysis, including a list of the risk factors identified in the assessment and how the employer will address the specific hazards identified.
  • Development of workplace violence controls, including implementation of engineering and administrative controls and methods used to prevent potential workplace violence incidents.
  • A recordkeeping system designed to report any violent incidents. Additionally, the employer shall address each specific hazard identified in the workplace evaluation. The reports must be in writing and maintained for review after each incident and at least annually to analyze incident trends.
  • Development of a workplace violence training program that includes a written outline or lesson plan.
  • Annual review of the workplace violence prevention program, which should be updated as necessary. Such review and updates shall set forth any mitigating steps taken in response to any workplace violence incidents.
  • Development of procedures and responsibilities to be taken in the event of a violent incident in the workplace.
  • Development of a response team responsible for immediate care of victims, re-establishment of work areas and processes and providing debriefing sessions with victims and coworkers. Employee assistance programs, human resource professionals and local mental health and emergency service personnel should be contacted for input in developing these strategies.

Header Photo by CDC on Unsplash

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