Workplace Violence Prevention Information
for New York State Public Employers
Workplace violence is any physical assault or act of aggressive behavior occurring where a public employee performs any work-related duty in the course of his or her employment, including, but not limited to:
- An attempt or threat, whether verbal or physical, to inflict physical injury upon an employee;
- Any intentional display of force which would give an employee reason to fear or expect bodily harm;
- Intentional and wrongful physical contact with a person without his or her consent that entails some injury; or
- Stalking an employee with the interest in causing fear of physical harm to the physical safety and health of such employee when such stalking has arisen through and in the course of employment.
Duties that involve the exchange of money
Delivery of passengers, goods, or services
Duties that involve mobile workplace assignments
Working with unstable or volatile persons in health care, social service, or criminal justice settings
Working alone or in small numbers
Working late at night or during early morning hours
Working in high-crime areas
Duties that involve guarding valuable property or possessions
Working in community-based settings
Working in a location with uncontrolled public access to the workplace
Public employers include:
Political subdivisions of the state
School Safety Agents of the NYPD
Public benefit corporations and
any other governmental agency or instrumentality
Public school districts
New York City public schools
County Vocational Education and Extension Boards
(Employers defined in section 2801-A of New York State Education Law).
Public Employee Safety and Health (PESH) has developed a How to Comply Guide to assist employers in complying with the regulations. Essentially, employers must:
Develop and post a written policy statement about the employer's workplace violence prevention program goals and objectives.
Conduct a risk evaluation by examining the workplace for potential hazards related to workplace violence.
Develop a workplace violence prevention program (preferably in writing, although that is only required for employers with 20 or more full-time permanent employees) that explains how the policy is actually going to be implemented. The program will include details about the risks that were identified in the evaluation and describe how the employer will address those risks. It will also include a system to report any incidents of workplace violence, among other things.
Provide training and information for employees around the workplace violence prevention program including any risk factors identified and what employees can do to protect themselves.
Document workplace violence incidents and maintain those records.
How does the Department of Labor respond to complaints of workplace violence hazards?
An employee must first notify a supervisor, in written format, of a serious violation of the workplace violence prevention program and allow a reasonable period of time for correction. For cases involving imminent danger, the local authorities should be contacted immediately. If the matter has not been resolved, a complaint may be filed with the Department of Labor's Division of Safety and Health PESH bureau. Valid complaints may result in a worksite inspection to determine if the employer has implemented the requirements of the Workplace Violence Prevention regulation. Employers found to be out of compliance with the requirements noted above will receive notices of violation. Note: it is important to address any violations within the agreed upon abatement period so that the employer does not risk incurring fines for failing to comply.
How can PESH help?
PESH has provided a number of resources here to assist employers who are trying to come into compliance with the workplace violence prevention regulation. In addition, PESH has a consultation branch that is separate and kept confidential from the enforcement branch, which provides free consultation surveys at the request of the employer. The employer can also set the scope of these surveys. PESH helps to identify the hazards present and recommends ways to correct each hazard. PESH also offers consultants to help train employees and correct violations cited as a result of an enforcement inspection.
How to Comply Guide
Appendix 1 Workplace Violence Prevention Policy Statement
Appendix 2-A Records Examination
Appendix 2-B Evaluation of the Physical Environment
Appendix 3 List of Risks and Mitigation Efforts
Appendix 4 Workplace Violence Prevention Training Outline
Appendix 5 Workplace Violence Incident Report
Workplace Violence Prevention Regulations
Workplace Violence Prevention Statute
PESH Consultation Assistance Fact Sheet
- A written workplace violence policy statement for employees.
- The assignment of oversight and prevention responsibilities to appropriate personnel.
- A workplace violence hazard assessment and security analysis, including a list of the risk factors and hazards identified in the assessment and how the employer will address the specific hazards identified.
- An employee questionnaire to obtain input on potential risks and vulnerabilities.
- Appropriate employee training on the workplace violence program and policy.
- A training program, including a written outline and/or lesson plan.
- Development of workplace violence controls, including engineering and administrative controls, to prevent incidents.
- A recordkeeping system and guidelines.
- An annual review of the workplace violence program, including an updated hazard assessment each year.
Developing a Workplace Violence Program and Policy
- Reviewing any history of violence in that particular workplace, including employee questionnaires, OSHA 300 logs, incident reports and health and safety records.
- Evaluating the history of violence in similar places of employment.
- Visually inspecting the workplace to identify risks associated with the design, layout and administrative procedures.
- Reviewing unique risk factors in your workplace (e.g., workplace is located in an area with a high crime rate, public access to workplace is not limited or controlled, employees are working late night or early morning hours).
Administrative controls can include drills for responding to incidents and training employees in nonviolent alternative dispute resolution, how to identify indicators and signals of potential violent episodes and how to respond to incidents of workplace violence.
What is workplace violence?Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide. It can affect and involve employees, clients, customers and visitors. Homicide is currently the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), of the 4,679 fatal workplace injuries that occurred in the United States in 2014, 403 were workplace homicides. [More...] However it manifests itself, workplace violence is a major concern for employers and employees nationwide.
Who is at risk of workplace violence?Nearly 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year. Unfortunately, many more cases go unreported. Research has identified factors that may increase the risk of violence for some workers at certain worksites. Such factors include exchanging money with the public and working with volatile, unstable people.
Working alone or in isolated areas may also contribute to the potential for violence. Providing services and care, and working where alcohol is served may also impact the likelihood of violence. Additionally, time of day and location of work, such as working late at night or in areas with high crime rates, are also risk factors that should be considered when addressing issues of workplace violence.
Among those with higher-risk are workers who exchange money with the public, delivery drivers, healthcare professionals, public service workers, customer service agents, law enforcement personnel, and those who work alone or in small groups.
- Updated Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers* (EPUB** | MOBI**). OSHA Publication 3148, (2015).
- New Worker Safety in Hospitals: Caring for our Caregivers, Preventing Workplace Violence in Healthcare. OSHA, (2015).
- Enforcement Procedures for Investigating or Inspecting Workplace Violence Incidents. OSHA Directive CPL 02-01-052, (September 8, 2011).
- Preventing Violence Against Taxi and For-Hire Drivers*. OSHA Fact Sheet, (April 2010).
- Recommendations for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs in Late-Night Retail Establishments*. OSHA Publication 3153, (2009).
How can workplace violence hazards be reduced?In most workplaces where risk factors can be identified, the risk of assault can be prevented or minimized if employers take appropriate precautions. One of the best protections employers can offer their workers is to establish a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence. This policy should cover all workers, patients, clients, visitors, contractors, and anyone else who may come in contact with company personnel.
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 an injury and illness prevention 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.
How do I find out about employer responsibilities and workers' rights?Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury). For more information see www.whistleblowers.gov or Workers' rights under the OSH Act.
OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to the OSHA Offices by State webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
Small businesses may contact OSHA's free On-site Consultation services funded by OSHA to help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites. To contact free consultation services, go to OSHA's On-site Consultation webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and press number 4.
Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. Workers can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via eComplaint Form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to the local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by a worker are more likely to result in an inspection.
If you think your job is unsafe or if you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Your contact will be kept confidential. We can help. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page.