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Workers’ compensation generally covers workplace violence

AdobeStock_124928348.jpegUsually, injuries happen on the job because of an accident. Industrial workers may not lift heavy loads correctly, leading to severe muscle strains. Or construction workers might fall from great heights while on site.

However, more and more injuries reported on the job seem to be the result of workplace violence.

What risk factors increase workplace violence?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the most common risk factors that increase the chance of violence include, but are not limited to:

  • Working with the public;
  • Working overnight shifts;
  • Low staff numbers; and
  • Working with unstable or violent individuals.

Health care workers deal with many of these risk factors daily.

Risk of violence makes health care one of the most dangerous fields

In past blog posts, we have discussed the risks that health care workers face on the job. According to Forbes, the risk of workplace violence is one of the main reasons this line of work is so dangerous. Health care workers experience 69% of the total physical assaults reported on the job across all areas of employment.

However, OSHA believes that number could be much higher since they estimate that nearly 25% of incidents go unreported.

Can workers recover compensation for injuries from violence?

Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws will cover injuries resulting from workplace violence, but only under specific circumstances. For example, workers must prove two factors to recover workers’ compensation:

  1. The violence was not a result of a personal attack. For example, health care workers who suffer violence from unstable patients can recover compensation, because the act is not personal.
  2. The injury arose out of employment. This is always a critical factor in any workers’ compensation case. For example, an injury from a violent patient would also be covered because it is in their duties of employment to care for patients, regardless of how volatile they might be.

Regardless of risk, no worker expects to suffer an injury on the job, especially as a result of workplace violence. And though workers are often able to recover compensation for injuries from violence, they should take precautions to reduce their risk as much as possible.