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WORKPLACE VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH
April is the month that we normally observe Workplace Violence Awareness Month. And today, April 28, we normally honor those workers who have lost their lives in the workplace whether it is through accidents, illness, or homicide.
There is nothing normal about what we are currently experiencing with the coronavirus pandemic. As of today, the number of coronavirus cases in the United States has surpassed 1 million, and over 57,000 persons have died from the virus.
Because of this unprecedented threat to our workers, we are re-purposing our site to discuss this pandemic and the effect that it is having on the workforce. If you wish to offer words of comfort or advice that is consistent with medical expertise, please email me at email@example.com.
In the meantime, we are very saddened at the many lives that have been lost in recent months. I lost my daughter three weeks ago, and although it wasn’t because of Covid-19, it was sudden and unexpected. The pain is very fresh and very potent. So, I too am grieving along with many of you. It is hard for me to even bring you these few words.
Remember to be very careful and vigilant. Practice social-distancing. It is the one thing that we know works. For symptoms and other precautions, visit: https://www.cdc.gov
During Workplace Violence Awareness Month, I implore you to think about, and discuss ways to help our children. I know that many of you are already doing that, but many of us who have traditionally been engaged in workplace violence prevention are not expanding our horizons to encompass community and school violence. I have said many times in my newsletters and on this site, that violence doesn’t occur in a vacuum. We must address the problem of violence prevention in a wholistic manner. If we want safer workplaces, we must work to have safer homes and communities.
My small senior community in South Florida has been plagued lately by random shootings. Fortunately, no one has yet been injured or killed by these shootings. But the mere occurrence of these shootings has left us rattled and confused. Some of the shooters are adults in their 60’s and 70’s, retirees from the work force. These are people who we would expect to assume leadership in the community and to work to have safer communities. Yet, out of their perceived injustices and anger towards others, they have resorted to intimidation by gunfire.
How are our children and grandchildren supposed to act in the face of such senselessness? There are some, including the police, who are saying that these people have the 2nd amendment right to bear arms. Really? Do they have the right to threaten others and destroy property because they can’t have their way? Those of us who are striving to make our community safer for everyone are perplexed by such nonsense.
On April 28, Worker’s Memorial Day, we will have an observance honoring the lives of those who have died in workplaces due to violence. We will talk about what we can do as a community to unite and encourage one another. Many times, just knowing that others care, makes a big difference.
We will be meeting at a venue to be decided for this observance. (more details to follow later) If you are living relatively close-by and can attend, we invite you to do so. If not, please be with us in spirit and have similar observances in your own communities. Some of you already observe Worker’s Memorial Day, as it is an observance that has been held for many years. Others of you, please utilize the month of April to have educational activities, postings, etc. on the problem of workplace violence. Many of you have done this in the past, and I’m encouraging you to do so again.
Patricia D. Biles, Founder/Executive Director of the Alliance Against Workplace Violence
Stoneman Douglas High School Mass Shooting
The members of the Alliance Against Workplace Violence join the entire country in expressing our sorrow at the loss of life in the killings at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This is yet another case of workplace violence of which we are becoming all too familiar. As we have stated before, violence doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Violence in our communities and in our workplaces is a huge problem.
What will it take to move forward? To move beyond just expressing our horror and our sadness at the senseless loss of life? Clearly, we need to have a united response and cease debating issues that we already know the answers to. Our leaders need to put all selfishness aside and make the tough decisions that have to be made.
When the CDC declared workplace violence as a public health epidemic in the early 90’s, research was conducted and guidelines written and disseminated to address the risk factors and preventive measures. As a result, the number of annual homicides were reduced by 50% from over 1,000 a year to 500 to 600 a year. No death is acceptable, but we must do what we have to do to reduce the numbers.
Prayers are definitely needed, but let’s add some action to those prayers and work together to prevent violence in our communities and workplaces. For more information on preventing school violence, read Halt The Violence: Chapter on Threat Assessment in the Schools by Alliance Member Dr. Eric Frazer. This is a reader available on www.amazon.com.
Patricia D. Biles, Founder/Director, Alliance Against Workplace Violence
About Workplace Violence Awareness
Workplace violence is a serious recognized occupational hazard, ranking among the top four causes of death in workplaces during the past 15 years. Additional BLS data indicate that an average of more than 15,000 nonfatal workplace injury cases was reported annually during this time.
Here are the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics on homicide, suicide and non-fatal injuries from violence in the workplace:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16,890 workers in the private industry experienced trauma from nonfatal workplace violence in 2016. These incidents required days away from work.1
Of those victims who experienced trauma from workplace violence:
- 70% were female
- 67% were aged 25 to 54
- 70% worked in the healthcare and social assistance industry
- 21% required 31 or more days away from work to recover, and 19% involved 3 to 5 days away from work.
Excerpts from OSHA news release, September 8, 2011- Read more
1Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016). TABLE R4. Number of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work by industry and selected events or exposures leading to injury or illness, private industry, 2016.Cdc-excelExternal
Workplace Violence Awareness Month
The Alliance Against Workplace Violence (AAWPV) will commemorate the month of April 2019 as Workplace Violence Awareness Month. This will be the 6th year that a national observance of workplace violence awareness is being held. We will highlight the preventable nature of most workplace violence incidents and promote campaigns of remembrance for those workers who have been injured or killed in the workplace by violence. AAWPV has selected the month of April as Workplace Violence Awareness Month because Workers Memorial Day is observed on April 28. This is a yearly event held to pay homage and respect to workers who have died while at work.
During the month of April, please take actions that will assist us in getting the word out to interested persons that workplace violence can be prevented. Help us to educate the public about this problem that is generally considered a police issue or as unavoidable. We believe that if more people understand what workplace violence is and what preventive measures can be utilized to halt it, they will take the necessary steps to make their workplaces safer.
The problem of workplace violence is not a separate issue from the other problems of violence that plague our society. We realize that violence in homes and communities often spills over into the workplace. The workplace is a microcosm of what happens in the community and there are lessons to be learned by parties on both sides. We created the Alliance Against Workplace Violence to generate discussion and ideas about preventing violence in the workplace among those who are already working diligently in this area and to include persons in the community who may be unaware of the problem.
We encourage all of you (on an annual basis) to spend the month of April holding events to raise public awareness of workplace violence, culminating in Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28. Please visit this site often to find out what events we will be promoting. We are asking for your participation and invite you to share your stories, services and products regarding the problem of violence in the workplace and its solutions.
The Alliance published its first book on August 31, 2011. It is Vol. One: Halt The Violence. The members of the Alliance are contributing authors to this book, which is a reader on workplace violence education and prevention. We created the Alliance Against Workplace Violence to generate discussion and ideas about preventing violence in the workplace among those who are already working diligently in this area and to include persons in the community who may be unaware of the problem. Consultants and practitioners in workplace violence prevention have joined in a collaborative effort to bring information to schools, churches, community associations, Chambers of Commerce, and violence prevention organizations. Please visit our resources page for more information.