February 2013
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Keep it safe

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You should prepare your workplace to minimize the risk of violence

by Jason C. Kim and Gray I. Mateo-Harris
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The recent shocking and tragic public shootings, as well as continued economic challenges, have led to increased concerns about workplace safety. In fact, workplace violence has been increasing steadily. Recent data shows workplace violence now affects about 2 million U.S. workers and costs U.S. businesses almost $36 billion each year. In addition to the personal harm inflicted on employees, workplace violence can result in costly and protracted litigation, damage to an employer's reputation, and decreased morale and productivity among employees.

Accordingly, you should focus attention on preventing workplace violence and developing specific policies and procedures to help minimize the risk and tackle the effects of workplace violence.

Your legal duty

Federal and state laws require employers to provide a safe, healthy work environment for employees and prevent workplace violence and other dangerous behavior that could harm employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Act, which established protective workplace safety standards, requires employers to provide a work environment free of known dangers that could cause...



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