News | April 29, 1998

OSHA Publishes Recommendations For Workplace Violence Prevention Programs

With considerable media attention on workplace violence and a growing public concern over workplace safety issues, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published its voluntary "Recommendations for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs for High-Risk, Late-Night Retail Establishments."

Although there is still a wide variance of certainty about how to combat workplace violence, particularly in late-night retail venues, OSHA recommends that an employer's existing duties under the "General Duty Clause," to provide a safe work environment, should not be altered.

Commending OSHA for recognizing the importance of encouraging employers to take steps to combat the workplace safety problem, Keith Lessner, vice president of Safety and Environment for the Alliance of American Insurers said, "The recommendations will help retail employers design, select and implement prevention programs based on the specific risk factors they identify in their particular workplaces without fear of heavy-handed government intervention. The recommendations will allow quicker, more productive action by minimizing the difficulty, inequity and costs associated with mandatory regulations."

Lessner called the recommendations "an appropriate policy tool for addressing workplace violence today that sets a course for developing additional strategies in the future. While we do not view the recommendations as the definitive answer to solving the problem of workplace violence, we consider them a step in the right direction and the right step at this time."