An unexpected act of violence or assault can happen in any workplace, either by a stranger or a co-worker.
In the U.S., it is estimated that two million workers become the victims of workplace violence each year. While workplace violence is more common in certain jobs, an unexpected act of violence can happen in any workplace, either by a stranger or a co-worker. Violent attacks can leave a worker with severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment and time off work. In addition, violence can have serious emotional effects on a victim.
Injuries Resulting From a Workplace Assault
Violent attacks can cause injuries ranging from a minor black eye to a life-threatening head injury. Some of the most common injuries resulting from assaults include:
- head injuries and skull fractures
- gunshot wounds
- traumatic brain injuries
- bone fractures and breaks
- facial and jaw fractures
- stab or puncture wounds
- internal organ damage
Some of these injuries require medical treatment that may include hospitalization, frequent doctor visits, surgery, and rehabilitative therapy. Many victims of workplace violence have to take a significant amount of time off work to recover from their injuries. An injured worker can claim workers’ compensation benefits to cover the cost of medical care and lost wages. If a worker receives serious and debilitating injuries, the victim may not be able to return to his or her job. In such cases, the worker may receive permanent disability benefits or receive a lump sum settlement amount.
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Apart from the physical injuries, many victims of workplace violence may also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This condition can develop when a worker experiences a traumatic event that either threatens to cause harm or causes actual harm. A large percentage of victims of workplace violence suffer from PTSD. The most common symptoms of PTSD are:
- flashbacks of the traumatic event
- sleep disturbances and nightmares
- irrational fears of harmless people, circumstances, or objects
- withdrawal from regular activities
These mental and emotional problems can have an adverse effect on a worker’s quality of life and on the ability to perform job duties.
Workplace Violence and Sexual Assault
Sexual assualt is a form of workplace violence, leading to physical and emotional injuries. Sexual assault victims often find it difficult to return to work and it may take years to recover from the trauma. While sexual assault at the workplace is not common, it does happen, leaving a victim deeply traumatized.
Workplace Violence – 5 Red Flags to Look Out For
Below are some signs that indicate an employee may be prone to violence in the workplace:
- An inability to take constructive criticism well or without being aggressive.
- A tendency towards extreme mood swings. An example would be someone who is usually calm and collected but then blows up when something goes wrong for them at work.
- Expressing feelings of entitlement or superiority over others. This could manifest itself in the form of talking down to co-workers, expecting special treatment, or feeling that they are above the rules.
- Having a history of violence outside of work. This could include a history of domestic violence, animal cruelty, or road rage.
- Making threats of violence either verbally or in writing. This could be directed towards co-workers, supervisors, or even the company itself.
You could also be prone to experiencing workplace violence if:
- You’re afraid to go to work because of a co-worker or supervisor
- You feel uncomfortable around a co-worker or supervisor
- You feel like you’re always being watched or monitored
- Your work duties are constantly changing or becoming more difficult
- Your workload increased suddenly without any explanation
What Should You Do if You Encounter a Red Flag?
Consider taking the following steps if you encounter any of these red flags:
The first step is to talk to your supervisor. Let them know what you are seeing and ask for their help in dealing with the situation. If necessary, they may need to contact the police or security.
If you feel like you are in danger, it is important to remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. Do not try to confront the person who is causing the problem. Instead, leave the area and go to a safe place, such as your supervisor’s office or another public area.
Remember, it is important to stay calm and collected in these situations. Acting aggressively or hysterically will only make things worse.
What Can Employers Do to Help Reduce the Risk of Violence?
Employers can help reduce the risk of violence in the workplace by:
- Developing a policy on workplace violence that is shared with all employees
- Training employees on how to identify and respond to red flags
- Creating a system for reporting any incidents of violence
- Investigating any reports of violence and taking appropriate action
- Providing a safe work environment, including adequate security measures
- Encouraging employees to speak up if they see something that makes them uncomfortable or unsafe
What Profession Carries the Highest Risk of Violence at Work?
Nurses are more likely to experience workplace violence than police officers or correctional officers.
Every day, healthcare professionals are faced with the potential for violence in their high-stress workplace environment where they are often understaffed and overworked. Whether it is from agitated patients, frustrated family members, or even other staff members, the risk is always present. In fact, according to the American Nurses Association, 1 out of 4 nurses is assaulted on the job.
If you are a healthcare worker who has been a victim of workplace violence, you may be wondering if you can be compensated for your injuries. The answer is generally yes. In most cases, workers’ compensation should cover medical expenses and lost wages as you recover from your injuries. If you cannot work, you may also be eligible for disability benefits.
Speak with a St. Louis Work-Related Injury Lawyer
A worker who suffers an injury in the course and scope of employment at the workplace is generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Seek legal guidance from a St. Louis workplace assault lawyer. Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 for a free consultation.
Workplace Injury and Accident Causes
Second Hand Asbestos Exposure
Sexual Assault Workplace
Physical Assault at Workplace
Workplace Injuries Assembly Line
At Fault Accident
Injured on Lunch Break
Chemical Exposure in the Workplace
Chemical Hazards in the Workplace
Cold Stress in the Workplace
Combustible Dust Explosion
Construction Site Accident
Conveyor Belt Accident
On the Job Injury Cause by Coworker
Injuries from Desk Jobs
Diesel Exhaust Fumes Exposure
Breaking Company Policy
Drowning at Work
Workplace Drug Use
Ergonomics in the Workplace
Fall at Work
Fire in the Workplace
Walk in Freezer
Gas Pipeline Accident
Workplace Hazardous Substances
Hazardous Equipment in the Workplace
Heavy Machinery Accident
Horseplay in the Workplace
Danger at Workplace
Insomnia in the Workplace
Ladder Falls at Work
Loading Dock Accident
Machinery Accident Workplace
Equipment Failure Accident
Mold in the Workplace
Nail Gun Accident
Non Collision Accident
Injury at Work Due to OSHA Violation
Overexertion Injuries at Work
Use of Pain Killers
Power Tool Injury
Repetitive Motion Injuries in the Workplace
Secondhand Smoke in the Workplace
Slip and Fall Injuries in the Workplace
Stairs at Work
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Toxic Chemical Exposure
Toxic Fumes in the Workplace
Car Accident While Working
Trips at Work
Unsafe Working Conditions
Winter Hazards in the Workplace