Workplace Violence Prevention

Woman assists a customer at a convenience store. Caption: In Washington, violence by strangers accounts for most of the fatalities related to workplace violence.Workplace violence causes a significant number of deaths and injuries in Washington and throughout the country. In 2010, workplace violence was the third leading cause of workplace deaths in Washington State. Workplace violence can include physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior at the work site. 

Some factors can increase the risk of workplace violence, including:

  • Exchanging money with the public.
  • Working with volatile or unstable people.
  • Working alone or in isolated areas.
  • Providing services and care.
  • Working where alcohol is served.
  • Working late at night or in areas with high crime rates.

In addition, some workers such as delivery drivers, healthcare professionals, public service workers, customer service agents, and law enforcement personnel, have a higher risk than others of experiencing workplace violence.

For some employers, there are specific rules regarding workplace violence prevention, including those in the healthcare industry or employers who operate late night retail establishments.

But all employers must develop an Accident Prevention Program, which includes evaluating hazards at work. When a hazard evaluation indicates employees are at risk for violence in the workplace, your Accident Prevention Program must include a plan that outlines measures to reduce this risk, such as training workers on de-escalation techniques, installing adequate lighting in parking lots, and providing drop safes.  Some workplaces must also determine if personal protective equipment is needed, for example, body armor for some law enforcement personnel, and address this as well.

General Rules

Rules for Specific Workplaces and Activities


Fatality Bulletins

Hazard Alerts


DVDs and Videos

Other Resources

Related Topics

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