Workplace violence needs more prevention attention - RocNow.com
Hello! and Thank You Lori. Justice may have been done for this family but what about the next. Prevention, prevention and if there were the family wouldn't need the justice system. It doesn't bring their loved ones back, nothing can do that. Measures can be taken so that no one else looses a family member. This needs to be added to OSHA Regulations. Anyone up for the fight?
Lori Breitmaier – Guest essayist
Essays – December 20, 2009 - 5:00am
This week in our court system, Frank Garcia was sentenced to life in prison for murdering a nursing co-worker. Garcia, 35, is already sentenced to serving a life sentence for killing another former co-worker on the same day.
In addition, he murdered two other innocent victims and injured another who were in the way of his rampage. In court proceedings, the prosecutor accused Garcia of committing the slayings as revenge for losing his job and reputation in the nursing community.
OK, justice has been served and Frank Garcia is going to jail for life. But, where is the plan to prevent this workplace violence tragedy from happening again?
The media appears to be focused on the sensation of Garcia’s trial and not on the issue of workplace violence.
Some 2 million American workers are victims of workplace violence each year. During the last decade, homicide was the third-leading cause of death for all workers and the leading cause of occupational death for female employees.
Affected workers suffer severe psychological trauma as well as physical injuries. Too many members are unable to continue working as a result of these assaults.
The financial cost of these situations is far-reaching and not accurately measurable.
In 2006, New York State enacted legislation that requires public employers to develop and implement workplace violence prevention at their work sites. The New York State Workplace Violence Prevention Act became effective on Oct. 5, 2006.
Public employers are required to have a written program to prevent violence in the workplace which includes a listing of risk factors and methods to reduce these risks. This law is one of the most comprehensive workplace violence standards in the country.
Despite having this law, I feel workplace violence is not taken seriously or emphasized with enough teeth to support the victim in our society. With recent budget cuts, emotional instability of co-workers and job site stressors, the increased risk of workplace violence is at an all-time high.
The first steps have been taken with this violence prevention legislation, but further legislation is essential to protect employees in private businesses.
Further training also is needed, as in funding for research into what works and what doesn’t.
The financial savings in government, the legal system and health care could be enormous. The saving of lives and emotional distress is unmentioned but priceless.
Breitmaier is forensic clinical nurse specialist at the Rochester Psychiatric Center.