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OSHA recommends HR policies/procedures to mitigate the risk of workplace violence

Proving it "can and does happen here," the latest in a string of increasingly deadly episodes of workplace violence occurred June 9, 2022 in the tiny community of Smithsburg, Maryland.

On June 9, 2022, a 23-year-old worker at a manufacturing plant in that town of 2,977 residents opened fire in the employee break room. He murdered three co-workers, mortally wounded a fourth, and also wounded a state trooper as he attempted to flee the scene of the crime: His own workplace.


The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) advises that at least 2 million employees each year are victimized by workplace violence, with homicide as the third leading cause of occupational death. OSHA is a federal agency of the United States Department of Labor that enforces and administers the OSH Act of 1970 and whose purpose is to ensure safe working conditions for American workers.

For employers who wish to mitigate the risk of workplace violence during these increasingly violent times, a remedy according to OSHA is the implementation of solid safety and human resources policies and procedures.

According to OSHA:

"By assessing their worksites, employers can identify methods for reducing the likelihood of incidents occurring. OSHA believes that a well-written and implemented workplace violence prevention program, combined with engineering controls, administrative controls and training can reduce the incidence of workplace violence in both the private sector and federal workplaces.This can be a separate workplace violence prevention program or can be incorporated into a safety and health program, employee handbook, or manual of standard operating procedures. It is critical to ensure that all workers know the policy and understand that all claims of workplace violence will be investigated and remedied promptly. In addition, OSHA encourages employers to develop additional methods as necessary to protect employees in high risk industries."



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