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  • Workplace violence and business liability insurance
  • February 7, 2014
  • “These are tragic situations so the courts will want to find a way to compensate the victims and their survivors,” Terrell says.

    In addition to making sure the business carries enough insurance, employers must be up-to-date and comprehensive on its employee policies, says Paul Harvey, associate professor for the Whittemore School of Business at the University of New Hampshire.

    violence in the workplace protection

    “It’s a little hard to defend accusations of promoting aggressive, hostile work environments if you’re policies are not in line with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations,” Harvey says.

    Harvey explains that there is not one single answer to solving and preventing workplace violence but there are two areas –individual traits of employees and the work environment — where managers can try to minimize the risk of a situation developing.

    As the recession along with its low job growth and lay-offs continue, workplace stress is sure to increase.

    “Offering employee counseling and having conflict resolution policies in place are things to show you are making a good faith effort to provide a safe working environment,” Harvey says. “Also, is there stress that your employees are under that doesn’t need to be there? Look at ways you can lower those stress levels.”

    Screening job candidates for signs of hostile behavior is also important, Harvey said.

    Employees with these characteristics typically blame others for their problems and failures, Harvey said. Those employees may not commit workplace violence, but they may create or cause other hazards.

    “They still may create issues such as fist fights, throwing objects or otherwise bullying other employees,” Harvey says.

    In its research on workplace violence, the FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crimes acknowledges that employers can be caught between federal regulations mandating a safe work environment and equal opportunity hiring rules.

    “But managers need to be coached or encouraged to spot people with those kinds of attitudes so they can avoid them,” Harvey adds.

    Harvey reminds employers that nothing is foolproof.

    “You may be taking all the steps you can but an act of violence can still happen,” Harvey says. “Human behavior is not an exact science.”

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