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Work injuries down, but workplace violence up in Massachusetts

Hearing that the number of workplace injuries and fatalities is down in Massachusetts is good news for employees all around the state. The Daily Hampshire Gazette reported the good news, stating that the number of fatal accidents has remained nearly the same over the last few years.

No increase in fatal work accidents is a positive note, but the same report also revealed that the rate of workplace violence has nearly doubled.

What is workplace violence?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines workplace violence as an action or threat of injury or harm at the workplace. These actions generally include:

  • Violence involving employees, such as one employee injuring another
  • Violence involving customers, such as a customer lashing out at a retail employee
  • Criminal violence, from an active shooter in the workplace or a violent theft

The risks of workplace violence

Nearly two million workers suffer from workplace violence every year across the country. And according to OSHA, many of these incidents involve several risk factors that could lead to workplace violence, including:

  • Working with the public in a variety of settings
  • Working with violent people in health care or justice fields
  • Working in a position that involves the exchange of money

The more risk factors that exist in a position increase the chance of violence. For example, Massachusetts police officers are more likely to experience workplace violence than office workers. However, the increase in workplace violence impacts all areas of work and all employees.

Is it possible to recover workers' compensation for workplace violence?

OSHA and many employers are seeking to increase safety standards to prevent workplace violence, but those efforts could take time.

It is critical to note that an employee could pursue workers' compensation after suffering an injury from workplace violence. As long as the incident occurred at work and related to work, workers' compensation should still cover an employee's injuries, medical expenses and missed wages.

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