Desk Rage is on the Rise, Says I.I.I.

New Policies Offered to Cover Workplace Violence



Apr 17, 2001, 01:00 ET from Insurance Information Institute

    WASHINGTON, April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Workplace violence is the second
 leading cause of death on the job in the United States.  Other forms of "desk
 rage," including screaming, throwing objects and serious acts of violence
 against co-workers and others, are also on the rise, according to the
 Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
     The financial implications after a violent event in the workplace can be
 staggering, often resulting in such tangible costs as medical bills
 (including life-saving medical attention, dental repairs, cosmetic surgery and
 psychiatric counseling), attorneys' fees, lost wages, security costs,
 rehabilitation and any property damage that may have resulted from the act.
 The intangible costs consist of lost staff time (including costs associated
 with temporary workers), staff replacement, training expenses, absentee wage
 costs, company liability, damage control and morale issues that affect
 productivity levels.
     Workplace violence may occur anywhere, however certain work environments
 appear to be at greater risk. In general, persons working in service-related
 fields are more likely to be victims of workplace violence than those in
 manufacturing or industrial settings.  Violence is most likely to occur in the
 following workplaces: public and government facilities 17.2%; restaurants and
 bars 14.6%; schools 14.6%; medical facilities 9.6%; convenience stores 8%;
 plants or factories 7.6%; businesses 7%; offices 6.4%; retail stores 6.4%;
 transportation facilities 4.8%; media facilities 2.4%; hotels and motels 1.4%.
 Violence against taxicab drivers, police officers and security guards is also
 extremely high.
     Stress on the job is the leading cause of violence in the workforce, the
 I.I.I. noted.  Dot-coms are the latest victims of desk rage.  Unfulfilled job
 expectations, long hours and a general lack of job security have made these
 work environments extremely volatile.
     According to the Department of Justice, approximately two million people
 are victims of workplace violence each year. Of that number, about 1,000 are
 homicides and the rest include assaults, assaults with a deadly weapon,
 robberies and rapes.
     As a result, insurers are now offering employers workplace safety policies
 to cover such incidents.  These policies may extend to employees, former
 employees and non-employees, and may include death benefits for families,
 medical and rehabilitation costs for injured workers and the costs of
 psychiatric counseling.  In addition, policies may cover company expenses
 resulting from business interruption, threat assessment prior to an incident
 and the costs to hire public relations, independent security and crisis
 management firms.  Insurance companies offering these types of coverages often
 combine insurance products with crisis intervention, employee education and
 resource and risk management audits, which prepare policyholders for incidents
 before they occur.  Premiums range from $3,000 to $10,000 per year, depending
 on a number of factors, including nature of the business, number of employees,
 location, etc.
 
     To help prevent workplace violence in an office, the I.I.I. recommends the
 following:
     -- Develop workplace safety guidelines.
     -- Consider purchasing workplace safety coverage.
     -- Identify and document high-risk behavior in employees.
     -- Properly screen new and potential employees.
     -- Train management to deal with customer or employee complaints.
 
     Providing appropriate training to employees demonstrates that management
 takes threats seriously, encourages employees to report incidents and
 illustrates a commitment to the safety and well-being of workers.
 
     The I.I.I. suggests firms look for the following indicators to help
 identify at-risk employees, customers, stalkers and criminals:
     -- Direct or veiled threats of harm.
     -- Intimidating, belligerent, harassing, bullying or other inappropriate
        and aggressive behavior.
     -- Numerous conflicts with supervisors and other employees.
     -- Bringing a weapon to the workplace, brandishing a weapon in the
        workplace or making inappropriate references to guns or fascination
        with weapons.
     -- Statements showing fascination with incidents of workplace violence,
        statements indicating approval of the use of violence to resolve a
        problem or statements indicating identification with perpetrators of
        workplace homicides.
     -- Statements indicating desperation (over family, financial or other
        personal problems) to the point of contemplating suicide.
     -- Drug/alcohol abuse.
     -- Extreme changes in behavior.
 
     Before high-risk behavior escalates or individuals act out in violent ways
 in the workplace, companies should take preventative loss control measures and
 develop crisis communications plans to protect their employees and their
 business.  Purchasing appropriate insurance coverage also ensures financial
 stability from both the tangible and intangible costs.
 
     The Insurance Information Institute is a non-profit communications
 organization sponsored by the property/casualty industry.  For more
 information or to schedule an interview, call the Insurance Information
 Institute at 202/833-1580.
 
 

SOURCE Insurance Information Institute
    WASHINGTON, April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Workplace violence is the second
 leading cause of death on the job in the United States.  Other forms of "desk
 rage," including screaming, throwing objects and serious acts of violence
 against co-workers and others, are also on the rise, according to the
 Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
     The financial implications after a violent event in the workplace can be
 staggering, often resulting in such tangible costs as medical bills
 (including life-saving medical attention, dental repairs, cosmetic surgery and
 psychiatric counseling), attorneys' fees, lost wages, security costs,
 rehabilitation and any property damage that may have resulted from the act.
 The intangible costs consist of lost staff time (including costs associated
 with temporary workers), staff replacement, training expenses, absentee wage
 costs, company liability, damage control and morale issues that affect
 productivity levels.
     Workplace violence may occur anywhere, however certain work environments
 appear to be at greater risk. In general, persons working in service-related
 fields are more likely to be victims of workplace violence than those in
 manufacturing or industrial settings.  Violence is most likely to occur in the
 following workplaces: public and government facilities 17.2%; restaurants and
 bars 14.6%; schools 14.6%; medical facilities 9.6%; convenience stores 8%;
 plants or factories 7.6%; businesses 7%; offices 6.4%; retail stores 6.4%;
 transportation facilities 4.8%; media facilities 2.4%; hotels and motels 1.4%.
 Violence against taxicab drivers, police officers and security guards is also
 extremely high.
     Stress on the job is the leading cause of violence in the workforce, the
 I.I.I. noted.  Dot-coms are the latest victims of desk rage.  Unfulfilled job
 expectations, long hours and a general lack of job security have made these
 work environments extremely volatile.
     According to the Department of Justice, approximately two million people
 are victims of workplace violence each year. Of that number, about 1,000 are
 homicides and the rest include assaults, assaults with a deadly weapon,
 robberies and rapes.
     As a result, insurers are now offering employers workplace safety policies
 to cover such incidents.  These policies may extend to employees, former
 employees and non-employees, and may include death benefits for families,
 medical and rehabilitation costs for injured workers and the costs of
 psychiatric counseling.  In addition, policies may cover company expenses
 resulting from business interruption, threat assessment prior to an incident
 and the costs to hire public relations, independent security and crisis
 management firms.  Insurance companies offering these types of coverages often
 combine insurance products with crisis intervention, employee education and
 resource and risk management audits, which prepare policyholders for incidents
 before they occur.  Premiums range from $3,000 to $10,000 per year, depending
 on a number of factors, including nature of the business, number of employees,
 location, etc.
 
     To help prevent workplace violence in an office, the I.I.I. recommends the
 following:
     -- Develop workplace safety guidelines.
     -- Consider purchasing workplace safety coverage.
     -- Identify and document high-risk behavior in employees.
     -- Properly screen new and potential employees.
     -- Train management to deal with customer or employee complaints.
 
     Providing appropriate training to employees demonstrates that management
 takes threats seriously, encourages employees to report incidents and
 illustrates a commitment to the safety and well-being of workers.
 
     The I.I.I. suggests firms look for the following indicators to help
 identify at-risk employees, customers, stalkers and criminals:
     -- Direct or veiled threats of harm.
     -- Intimidating, belligerent, harassing, bullying or other inappropriate
        and aggressive behavior.
     -- Numerous conflicts with supervisors and other employees.
     -- Bringing a weapon to the workplace, brandishing a weapon in the
        workplace or making inappropriate references to guns or fascination
        with weapons.
     -- Statements showing fascination with incidents of workplace violence,
        statements indicating approval of the use of violence to resolve a
        problem or statements indicating identification with perpetrators of
        workplace homicides.
     -- Statements indicating desperation (over family, financial or other
        personal problems) to the point of contemplating suicide.
     -- Drug/alcohol abuse.
     -- Extreme changes in behavior.
 
     Before high-risk behavior escalates or individuals act out in violent ways
 in the workplace, companies should take preventative loss control measures and
 develop crisis communications plans to protect their employees and their
 business.  Purchasing appropriate insurance coverage also ensures financial
 stability from both the tangible and intangible costs.
 
     The Insurance Information Institute is a non-profit communications
 organization sponsored by the property/casualty industry.  For more
 information or to schedule an interview, call the Insurance Information
 Institute at 202/833-1580.
 
 SOURCE  Insurance Information Institute