Today’s post comes from guest author Kristina Brown Thompson, from The Jernigan Law Firm.
In light of the horrific elementary school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut last week it may be time to re-evaluate workplace violence, which seems to be increasing at an alarming rate. Technically, workplace violence is any act where an employee is abused, threatened, intimidated, or assaulted in the workplace. It can include threats, harassment, and verbal abuse, as well as physical attacks by someone with an assault rifle.
Two million American workers are victims of workplace violence every year. What’s worse is that workplace violence is one of the leading causes of job-related deaths in the United States. Last year, for example, one in every five fatal work injuries was attributed not to accidents but to workplace violence, and some employees are at an increased risk for harm. For example, employees who work with the public or who handle money are more at risk (i.e. bank tellers, pizza delivery drivers, or social workers). According to the 2011 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries by the U.S. Dept. of Labor, robbers were found to be the assailants in almost a third of homicide/workplace violence cases involving men, whereas female workers were more likely to be attacked by a relative (i.e. former spouse or partner) while at work.
Preventing workplace violence is a challenging task and OSHA advises employers to create a Workplace Violence Prevention Program. Creating a safe perimeter for employees is crucial. Likewise, having an emergency protocol in place should reduce the number of fatalities in an attack, and that’s exactly what happened at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut when the school’s protocol saved the lives of many children.
By working together we can bring an end to gun violence in America
Today’s post comes from guest author Kit Case from Causey Law Firm.
A man entered a Seattle bar late Sunday night, January 27, 2013, and confronted his ex-girlfriend, brandishing a gun. The gunman shot both his ex-girlfriend and the doorman before the gunman was fatally shot by Seattle police. Both the ex-girlfriend and the doorman were taken to Harborview Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Both were victims of senseless gun violence, but the doorman is also a workers’ compensation claimant due to this occurring while he was on-the-job.
2012 has been the worst year for these events in modern US history, with 151 victims injured and killed.
Quoting an article published by Mother Jones (Mother Jones Investigates: The NRA Myth of Arming the Good Guys), Washington CeaseFire shared that there have been at least 62 mass shootings in the last three decades, attacks in which the killer took the lives of four or more people (the FBI’s baseline for mass murder) in a public place—a school, a workplace, a mall, a religious building. Seven of them have occurred this year alone. Along with three other similar though less lethal rampages—at a Portland shopping mall, a Milwaukee spa, and a Cleveland high school—2012 has been the worst year for these events in modern US history, with 151 victims injured and killed.
On Tuesday, January 22nd, Washington CeaseFire presented the results of a statewide poll conducted by Alison Peters Consulting. The poll of 600 randomly selected registered Washington voters reveals a strong preference for stronger gun safety laws on both Eastern and Western sides of the state. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. Findings included :
- 76% of state residents support tighter gun laws;
- 87% support a state law to require that everyone who buys a gun at a gun show undergo a background check;
- 66% support a state law to ban semi-automatic assault weapons;
- 68% are in support of a state law to increase mandatory penalties for youth firearm possession, starting with house detention at the first offense ;
- 68% would support a state law to limit ammunition clips on guns to 10 bullets; and,
- 66% of respondents are in support of a state law requiring the signature of local police on every concealed weapons permit application.
Washington CeaseFire states that it’s time to end gun violence in America, noting that gun deaths outnumber traffic fatalities in Washington and nine other states. Now is the time to make our voices heard. Please consider participating in a candlelight vigil and march on February 9, 2013 in Seattle, Washington, co-sponsored by CeaseFire. More than 1000 people attended a similar march held in January (see prior post for details) and it is hoped that the upcoming vigil and march will draw more attention to this issue.