Workers in certain industries are at risk of getting hurt on-the-job because they are victims of violent acts. Workers in the healthcare profession, for example, could be attacked by patients who have dementia, mental disorders, or who are otherwise unable or unwilling to control their behavior. Workers who work in retail are also at risk of robberies. The risk of workplace violence actually extends across all sectors, with around two million workers reporting work injuries each year, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
One recent incident illustrates some of the risks that retail workers can face when they are on-the-job. According to NBC News, a Bronx supermarket worker was on duty on a Friday afternoon around 5:30 when he noticed a man who was trying to steal cereal. The supermarket worker tried to stop the would-be cereal thief, but the thief pulled out a blade and slashed him in the face. The supermarket worker, like all victims of workplace violence, could potentially have a claim for workers' compensation arising out of this incident.
Acts of Workplace Violence Endanger New York Workers
Employers should try to prevent acts of workplace violence. In a retail environment, for example, employers may want to post signs alerting potential thieves to the fact that there is limited or no cash in the register to be stolen. This is especially important for retail establishments that might be open late where workers might be working alone. The use of security cameras and other anti-theft measures could also help to stop employees from being hurt by violent acts.
Employers may also wish to put policies in place aimed at preventing violent incidents. For example, it is a good idea for employers to have a zero tolerance policy for co-workers being violent to each other or making threats. Employers in retail environments can also instruct workers not to try to detain or stop shoplifters but instead to leave it to security and the police. Causing a confrontation with a shoplifter could quickly turn deadly.
Regardless of whether an employer takes precautions to prevent violence, or fails to take such precautions, a worker who gets hurt because of violence on-the-job should be entitled to workers' comp coverage. As long as the violence happened because of work duties or tasks, the employee should successfully be able to make a claim for workers' comp benefits. These benefits can provide payment of medical bills for injured workers, as well as disability income if the act of violence causes injuries that interfere with the ability of the employee to do work.
Sometimes, it can be hard to show that an act of violence was work-related, but a workers' compensation lawyer can help victims to demonstrate both the cause of harm and the extent of harm. Employer negligence doesn't matter in these particular cases, unlike in a personal injury claim based on premises liability. This means every injured worker should explore options for getting workers' comp benefits if there was a violent incident related to the job.