A report in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association says the second leading cause of death on the job for American workers is homicide. And the danger may not be from a robber, but a co-worker. It’s not even likely a jealous lover, but a worker who thinks he was wrongly fired, denied promotion or treated badly and is ready to act out. Dick Kohl is Vice-President of operations for American Security Corporation, which provides guards and security services for businesses in five states including Iowa. He counsels managers on how to prevent workplace violence.He says if they’re going to fire someone, they might increase security. While there’s still a danger that a murderous intruder or angry boyfriend could come to a workplace, Kohl says a good company culture does things to minimize risk. He says you have to judge each situation, but when managers go into denial about the risk, things can happen. Kohl says “the workplace” includes jobs like police officer, which carry their own risk, but he says the danger from a stalker on the street is less these days. Murder rates have dropped nationwide as young offenders are jailed and the population ages, but workplace and domestic violence haven’t gone down. Kohl says the AMA’s suggestions for bright lighting, closed doors and more than one worker on duty would work against attack by a stranger, but he has another idea to prevent “job rage.”The environment of the workplace should let people with grievances feel there’s a place to get them addressed. Kohl says a company that listening to worker complaints is taking a wise move to head off workplace violence.
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