According to a report from the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) ‘Employee Perceptions of Federal Workplace Violence,’ approximately 13 percent of Federal employees – about one in eight – observed or experienced workplace violence between 2008 and 2010. The MSPB report, which was conducted in 2010 and received responses from 42,000 federal employees at 30 agencies, is at: http://www.mspb.gov/netsearch/viewdocs.aspx?docnumber=759001&version=761840&application=ACROBAT.
The MSPB report – part of a study on federal workplace violence – found the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) led all agencies with 23 percent of employees witnessing workplace violence. The report also revealed current or former co-workers governmentwide caused roughly 54 percent of the incidents of workplace violence, defined as “physical attacks, threats of attack, harassment, intimidation, or bullying in the workplace,” in a MSPB press release at: http://www.mspb.gov/netsearch/viewdocs.aspx?docnumber=759029&version=761868&application=ACROBAT.
According to the ‘Recommendations’ section of the MSPB report, Federal agencies should:
- Establish formal workplace violence programs that outline organizational responsibilities with respect to preventing workplace violence and responding to it when it does occur.
- Ensure that disparate organizations within their agencies are ready and able to work together to prevent workplace violence and to respond effectively to violent episodes when they do occur.
- Collect data on the prevalence and nature of violence in their organizations to inform the development of effective workplace violence prevention programs.
- Allow organizational leaders to base workplace violence prevention efforts and response plans on specific local needs.
- Bring together managers, supervisors, and human resources officials to specifically address the internal threat of workplace violence.
In addition, the MSPB report recommends Federal employees should: “Be aware of and adhere to their organization’s workplace violence policies. Employees should know how to report a violent incident, and they should report any threatening or violent behavior by coworkers or any other individual in the workplace.”
The ‘Survey of Workplace Violence Prevention’ done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2005 – the most recent national survey on workplace violence – found that only 5 percent of private-sector employees said they witnessed at least one workplace violence incident in the past 12 months. In contrast, the BLS survey found the figure was 32 percent for state government employees and 15 percent for local government employees. The BLS survey of workplace violence is available at: http://www.bls.gov/iif/osh_wpvs.htm.
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