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violence in the workplace


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The purpose of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (Public Law 91–596) is to assure safe and healthful working conditions for every working person and to preserve our human resources. In this Act, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is charged with recommending occupational safety and health standards and describing exposures that are safe for various periods of employment, including (but not limited to) the exposures at which no worker will suffer diminished health, functional capacity, or life expectancy as a result of his or her work experience.

Current Intelligence Bulletins (CIBs) are issued by NIOSH to disseminate new scientific information about occupational hazards. A CIB may draw attention to a formerly unrecognized hazard, report new data on a known hazard, or disseminate information about hazard control. CIBs are distributed to representatives of academia, industry, organized labor, public health agencies, and public interest groups as well as to Federal agencies responsible for ensuring the safety and health of workers.

Each week in the United States, an average of 20 workers are murdered and 18,000 are assaulted while at work. These staggering figures should not be an accepted cost of doing business in our society—nor should death or injury be an inevitable result of one's chosen occupation.

This CIB reviews what is known about fatal and nonfatal violence in the workplace, defines research gaps, and recommends general approaches to workplace violence prevention. The document also summarizes issues that need to be addressed when dealing with workplace violence in various settings such as offices, factories, warehouses, hospitals, convenience stores, and taxicabs.

No definitive strategy will ever be appropriate for preventing violence in all workplaces, but we must begin to change the way work is done in certain settings to minimize the risk to American workers. We must work together to address the research and prevention challenges posed by the complex issue of workplace violence. This document serves as the foundation for developing a comprehensive strategy for reducing violence in U.S. workplaces.

Linda Rosenstock, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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(912) 441-2059, or

J. R. Roberts
Security Strategies
PO Box 279
Balsam, North Carolina

(912) 441-2059


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