Of all the hazards Minnesotans face on the job, workplace violence is one many don’t see coming. From nurses facing backlash from patients to bartenders dealing with rowdy customers, the dangers of workplace violence are real and can cause significant physical and financial damage.
Where do violent attacks occur?
The Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) lists a number of factors that make some workers more vulnerable to violence than others. Among the most dangerous occupational situations are:
- Exchanging money with the public: If you work as a cashier, bank teller or other job in which you routinely exchange cash with customers, this creates a natural source of danger. Your employer must provide adequate security measures, but even the tightest security has its vulnerabilities.
- Providing care: Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals face a persistent threat of violence committed by patients. Some patients lash out because they don’t want to accept the treatment they are being given, while others commit violent acts while in distressed mental states.
- Serving alcohol: Drunk and disorderly customers create a work hazard for bartenders, servers and other bar and restaurant staff. Working late at night adds another layer of danger to your shift.
- Enforcing the law: We can’t forget about workers whose very job it is to arrest and apprehend violent criminals. Police officers face the threat of violent acts every time they go to work, as do private security personnel.
The law can protect you financially
Violent attacks at work can be extremely frightening. Injuries sustained from such attacks can leave you with steep medical bills and even temporary or permanent disability. Remember that workers’ compensation laws are here to protect you if you have suffered an injury on the job, including an injury arising from a violent act.