Tag Archives: OSHA

OSHA Designates Inaugural Safe and Sound Week to Raise Awareness of Workplace Safety and Health Programs

OSHA Safe and Sound Week

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has designated June 12 to 18, 2017, as the inaugural “Safe + Sound Week” to raise awareness of the value and importance of workplace safety and health programs. More information about Safe + Sound Week is at www.osha.gov/safeandsoundweek/. Continue reading

OSHA Electronic Accident Reporting Rule Could Affect Post-Injury Drug Testing by Employers


Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On May 12, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a Final Rule in the Federal Register requiring certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data to OSHA that they must keep under existing OSHA regulations. The rule also states that “OSHA believes the evidence in the rulemaking record shows that blanket post-injury drug testing policies deter proper reporting.” Continue reading

On-Air Shooting of Journalists a Tragic Case of Workplace Violence

Workplace Violence

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The tragic shooting deaths of two journalists during a live on-air broadcast who worked for WDBJ7 in Roanoke, Virginia by a former colleague who was fired from his job is an example of “the widespread prevalence of workplace violence,” according to a CNN Political Commentary posted on the WDBJ7.com website. Continue reading

OSHA Releases Update to Preventing Workplace Violence Guidelines


Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released an update to its Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers that highlights the most effective ways to reduce the risk of violence in various healthcare and social service settings. The complete report from OSHA is available at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3148.pdf. Continue reading

Workers Memorial Day Observed on April 28


Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Workers Memorial Day is observed every year on April 28 and honors workers who have died on the job or who experienced hazardous exposures at work. The day is also a chance to recommit to safe and healthful workplaces for all workers. The date April 28 is also the day the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was officially formed in 1971. For more information about events on Workers Memorial Day 2015, visit https://www.osha.gov/as/opa/worker_memorial_2015.html. Continue reading

Workplace Violence Accounts for Nearly One in Every Five Fatal Work Injuries in US

Preliminary statistics from the 2011 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveal that nearly one in every five fatal work injuries was attributed not to accidents but to workplace violence. The CFOI found that of the 4,609 total fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2011, 780 fatalities – or nearly 17 percent – were a result of violence and other injuries by persons or animals. For more information about the 2011 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), visit: http://stats.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm#2011. Continue reading

Revised 2010 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Shows One Out of Ten Workplace Deaths Attributed to Homicide

According to the revised numbers reflecting updates to the 2010 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the final count of fatal work injuries in the United States in 2010 was 4,690, up from the preliminary count of 4,547, with 518 of those deaths, up from  506, caused by workplace homicides. These figures mean approximately 11 percent of workplace deaths – more than one out of ten – were attributed to homicide. The revised 2010 CFOI of April 2012 for the preliminary results in August 2011 is available at: http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfoi_revised10.pdf. Continue reading

Workplace Violence Research Shows Increase in Homicides Committed by Work Associates

A new report “Violence in the Workplace” by the National Council on Compensation Insurance, Inc. (NCCI) shows that while work-related homicides and injuries due to workplace assaults remain well below levels observed in the mid-1990s, homicides committed by “work associates” – a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) category made up of both coworkers and customers – have increased. To view the complete report, visit: https://www.ncci.com/documents/Workplace_Research.pdf. Continue reading

OSHA Issues Enforcement Procedures for Investigating or Inspecting Workplace Violence Incidents

Recognizing workplace violence as a serious occupational hazard that has ranked among the top causes of death in workplaces in recent years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a directive on ‘Enforcement Procedures for Investigating or Inspecting Incidents of Workplace Violence’ that establishes general policy guidance and procedures for OSHA field offices to apply when conducting inspections in response to incidents of workplace violence. The OSHA directive is available at http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_02-01-052.pdf. Continue reading

ESR Background Screening Trend 7 for 2011: More Workplace Violence Prevention Education Helps Protect Employers and Employees

By Lester Rosen, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) President & Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Editor

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) Fourth Annual ‘Top Ten Trends in Pre-Employment Background Screening’ for 2011

Trend No. 7:  More Workplace Violence Prevention Education Helps Protect Employers and Employees

A background screening trend that gained much attention in 2010 that will continue to do so in 2011 will be increased workplace violence prevention education to help protect both employers and employees.

While the term “workplace violence” is appropriate for a quick definition or diagnosis of a problem, fully defining all aspects of “workplace violence” can be nebulous at best. Many employers loosely define workplace violence as:

Assaults, other violent acts, or threats which occur in or are related to the workplace and entail a substantial risk of physical or emotional harm to individuals, or damage to company resources or capabilities.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) defines “workplace violence” as “violence or the threat of violence against workers” that involves any physical assault, threatening behavior, or verbal abuse occurring in, or related to, the workplace, and includes behaviors ranging in aggressiveness from verbal harassment to murder. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 521 workplace killings in the United States in 2009, 420 of them committed by gunfire.

Workplace violence incidents seemed to make the news more regularly in this past year, with each tragic case serving to further educate employers, and the public, about workplace violence:

  • January 2010: A male employee at a manufacturing company in Missouri involved in a lawsuit filed against the company allegedly killed three people and then shot himself.
  • February 2010: A female professor was accused of killing three colleagues and wounding three others during a faculty meeting after being denied tenure at a university in Alabama. In an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America, two family members of one victim said they hoped the shooting would lead to more thorough background checks for the school’s faculty after learning about the accused killer’s allegedly violent past.
  • March 2010: A female supermarket worker in Florida fired for threatening to kill a coworker returned to work and made good on her threat.
  • August 2010: In the wake of the tragic shooting spree on November 5, 2009 in which an Army psychiatrist allegedly opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas and took the lives of 13 military personnel and wounded 32 others, the Department of Defense called for more education about workplace violence as part of its final review of the recommendations from the independent report ‘Protecting the Force: Lessons Learned from Fort Hood.’ Specifically, “Recommendation 2.6 a, b: Update Policies to Address Workplace Violence” states the Independent Review found “guidance concerning workplace violence” was insufficient and that these programs “may serve as useful resources for developing more comprehensive workplace violence prevention.”
  • August 2010: A truck driver in Connecticut who purportedly stole from his company and resigned reportedly killed eight people and then shot himself with a handgun.
  • September 2010: After being suspended from her job, a woman allegedly killed coworkers at a baking plant in Philadelphia.
  • September 2010: A survey by Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) revealed more than half of the emergency nurses surveyed – a mean of 54.8 percent – reported experiencing incidents of workplace violence in the past week. In addition, almost three out of four emergency nurses – 74.4 percent – who were victims of workplace violence reported that the hospital gave them no response regarding that workplace violence. As a result of the survey, ENA urged OHSA to make its guidelines for preventing workplace violence into mandatory standards that to which all hospital and health care centers must adhere.
  • September 2010: Part of the emerging trend of workplace violence is that women seem to be increasingly becoming involved in workplace violence incidents. Although women commit fewer than 5 percent of homicides and assaults in the workplace, several high-profile cases of women killing in the workplace occurred in the past year, and these cases could indicate a possible trend emerging of women committing more acts of workplace violence.

These recent incidents of workplace violence remind employers that they should have education and policies on how to help prevent workplace violence, including training on how to recognize, and deal with, the warning signs of workplace violence. 

While the definition of “workplace violence” covers a fair degree of actions, a better interpretation should be used in order to create an effective, defensible policy for employers. A better definition of workplace violence should account for the type of offense, circumstance — where and when an incident occurs, and whether it is considered to be “on-the-job” — and party or parties involved. Workplace violence can take place anywhere employees are required to carry out a business-related function.

While many acts of workplace violence are caused by external parties, such as robbery in the workplace by a stranger, recent concerns over workplace violence center on workplace violence carried out by existing employees. These internal incidents of workplace violence leave employers largely liable for any problems that occur in the workplace under the “Negligent Hiring Doctrine” dictating that employers can be held liable for damages if they knowingly employ persons known to pose a potential threat to co-workers or the public.

That said, the question arises — how can an employer identify a potentially problematic employee? The problem is that there is no magic formula that tells an employer in advance who will and will not be violent. Predicting future violence is a matter of considerable controversy. However, experts have found some factors that are present in many cases of workplace violence. One important factor is a history of past violence.  For that reason, pre-employment background checks are widely regarded as an effective screening procedure because the process serves three major functions:

  • First, screening job applicants can bring to light problems in a potential hire’s past such as a history of violence, harassment, or extremely inappropriate behavior.
  • Second, by making it standard policy to screen all job applicants on their way into the company, employers demonstrate due diligence, showing that all reasonable efforts have been made in determining whether or not the applicant poses a threat to the company or to the public.
  • Third, pro-actively communicated background screening practices cause applicants to opt-out by discouraging prospective jobseekers with criminal or problematic backgrounds from applying.

However, there is more to preventing workplace problems than background screening at the door. Lives of employees can change. A person who checked out in an initial background screening may over time develop the traits or behaviors indicative of a potentially violent employee. It is up to the employer to maintain a constant eye on conditions and events in the workplace — to stay aware of employee attitudes and concerns in order to ensure the safety and security of everyone involved. Some workplace violence is related to domestic violence that spills over in the workplace. Also, workplace violence can be threats that create a hostile workplace. Employers need to be prepared to assemble a team to deal with workplace violence incidents.

One way employers can deal with workplace violence is to use due diligence in hiring as an important tool to avoid “bad” – and potentially violent – hires. Pre-employment background screening plays a critical role of in the hiring process.  Setting up a pre-employment background screening program is quick, easy, and the cost is minimal compared to just one workplace violence incident.  An employer can provide a great deal of protection from workplace violence just by a well designed job application, interview, criminal background check, and past employment and education verification process. The bottom line is that employees also want protection from workplace violence and to work in a workplace with safe and qualified co-workers.

To read more articles about workplace violence on ESR News, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/workplace-violence/.  For more information about background screening to help prevent workplace violence, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is releasing the ESR Fourth Annual ‘Top Ten Trends in Pre-Employment Background Screening’ for 2011 throughout December. This is the Seventh of the Top Ten Trends ESR will be tracking in 2011. To see an updated list of ESR’s ‘Top Ten Trends in Pre-Employment Background Screening’ for 2011, visit: http://www.esrcheck.com/Top-Ten-Trends-In-Background-Screening-2011.php.  

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is the company that wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. Employment Screening Resources is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). ESR was the third U.S. background check firm to be Safe Harbor’ Certified for data privacy protection. To learn more, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations, at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.