A recent OSHA inspection of a Maine psychiatric hospital found more than 90 instances from 2008 through 2010 in which workers were assaulted on the job by patients. The hospital was cited for not providing its workers with adequate safeguards against workplace violence and a fine of more than $6,000 was proposed. OSHA has also recently cited facilities in New York and Massachusetts where employees have been killed as a result of assaults.

Shocking as it is, there are some workplaces that are so violent that you are better off staying home.

Potential is a word that you frequently hear related to workplace violence. “He had the potential to harm his coworkers.”

That’s changing. Now, the potential is on you to help be a solution to the problem, in addition to OSHA and AlliedBarton.

Last month, OSHA issued a directive on Enforcement Procedures for Investigating or Inspecting Incidents of Workplace Violence. The directive establishes uniform procedures for OSHA field staff for responding to incidents and complaints of workplace violence and conducting inspections in industries considered vulnerable to workplace violence, such as healthcare and social service settings, and late-night retail establishments.

“These incidents and others like them can be avoided or decreased if employers take appropriate precautions to protect their workers,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

And at ASIS, Bill Whitmore, chairman, president and CEO of AlliedBarton introduced his book, titled Potential: Workplace Violence Prevention and Your Organizational Success. “Workplace violence is a day-to-day reality that cannot be ignored,” said Whitmore.

Potential now shows how a range of stakeholders can work together to lower an organization’s workplace violence risk and enhance its overall morale and performance, Whitmore said.

This month’s issue also includes an article on this very important topic, including updates on standards in this area. Please contact me at ritcheyd@bnpmedia.com if you’d like to discuss it.