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Workplace safety: Gun violence threats must be addressed

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, business owners in Missouri must provide employees with safe workplace environments that are free from known hazards that might cause serious harm or death to employees. Although there are no specific regulations related to the threats of workplace violence, authorities say business owners may start by instituting a zero-violence policy. However, workplace safety can also be threatened by non-employees.

Factors that must be considered -- and prepared for -- include the possibility of domestic violence issues that spill into the workplace. There have been cases of disgruntled spouses threatening their wives or husbands at their places of work. The possibility of a disgruntled current or former worker must also not be disregarded. Creating awareness of such dangers and asking employees to be observant of any behavioral signs that could lead to violence may help.

It is suggested that employers must discuss plans of action in the events of gun violence at their companies with employees. Being proactive, rather than trying to deal with such a situation when it occurs may save lives. Even if the police is called immediately, it takes only a second to pull a trigger, and responders may arrive too late.

Missouri workers who have suffered injuries that were caused by incidents of gun violence and other types of violence that compromised workplace safety may suffer both physical and psychological damages. This, along with the medical bills and lost income can play havoc with the lives of injured Missouri workers and their families. Fortunately, financial assistance may be pursued through the workers' compensation insurance system. Benefits claims typically cover medical and wage-related costs that may allow workers complete recovery before returning to work.

Source: kiro7.com, "Your boss may be required to prepare for an "active shooter"", Feb. 11, 2016

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