Violence is a risk to any worker, but there are some sectors which are far more dangerous than others when it comes to the risk of being victimized by an attack in the workplace. For example, Safety News Alert reported recently that employees of convenience stores have a seven times greater risk of dying in a work-related homicide as compared with workers in other professions.
Whenever there is a substantial risk of workplace injuries or fatalities, employers and employees need to be aware of the risk so they can take steps to reduce the danger. If an act of violence does occur and a worker is killed, the victim’s family will also need to consult with an Atlanta workers’ comp death benefits lawyer to find out what options are available for getting funeral expenses and other benefits provided.
Prevention of Atlanta Workplace Deaths Due to Homicide
The National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) conducted a study recently aimed at addressing the disproportionate risk of homicide in the convenience store business. The purpose of the study was to try to help prevent robberies, which are the primary reason why convenience store workers have such high rates of workplace deaths due to homicide. Robbery-related homicides are the leading cause of fatal workplace injuries for all retail employees, but there are ways to help keep workers safe. In particular, using Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) can make a big impact.
The NIOSH study reported on by Safety News Alert revealed that when convenience stores used CPTED programs, they experienced as much as an 84 percent decrease in robberies. The use of such programs also caused a 61 percent decrease in non-fatal injuries among retail workers.
Unfortunately, despite the fact CPTED can make a big impact on keeping retail workers safe, many convenience stores and other retail establishments are not embracing this method of crime prevention. This is true even in situations where local ordinances require various security measures that are part of CPTED’s robbery-reduction efforts. For example, NIOSH examined one local city where a task force had resulted in a city ordinance being passed in 2008.
The 2008 ordinance required the incorporation of multiple features of CPTED including mandating convenience stores view required training videos; register with local police departments; post No Trespassing signs; provide a clear view to and from the sales area; and install an alarm system on the premises. Despite the ordinance, however, only nine percent of 300 randomly selected stores had complied with these requirements. The compliance rates were lowest among owner-operated stores where the owner had just a single storefront, as compared with in retail chains.
NIOSH believes a lack of resources as well as inexperience with safety practices are reasons for the low compliance rates. The agency suggests insurance companies, chambers of commerce, and other intermediaries intervene in helping stores to become safer. NIOSH also offers lower-cost advice such as posting signs saying security cameras are in use.
Regardless of what a store does, or does not do, however, it is important for workers and their families to understand that workers’ comp benefits should be available after an act of workplace violence.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.