What is Workplace Wellness? Cartoons & Stats 5 Random Wellness Stats Glossary

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Workplace Wellness/Health Promotion Glossary

Violence in the Workplace
Workplace violence can be perpetrated on an individual by his or her employer, fellow employees, clients, or even a stranger.

There are four main types of workplace violence: worker-on-worker (can come from anywhere in the organizational hierarchy, usually inspired by a grudge or perceived slight); criminal (can be committed by an outsider, inspired by personal gain such as theft); client/user (for example a patient abusing a nurse, often inspired by frustration with the organization's policies or behaviour of the individual); and domestic violence wherein the perpetrator has tracked the individual down at the workplace.

The violence can be further categorized as: non-physical (threats, intimidation), physical (hitting, kicking, spitting), and aggravated physical violence (using a weapon of any form).
As with bullying in the workplace, the effects of violence on the victim can be as wide ranging as the forms of violence from long-term emotional and mental health effects (like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) to physical injury and death.

For the employer, legal liability is only one potential outcome: reduced corporate image, lower morale, high turnover and increased training costs, absenteeism, presenteeism, higher insurance premiums, are all reasons to nip violent behaviour in the bud.

In 2004 Statistics Canada did a survey called "Criminal victimization in the workplace", which resulted in some interesting statistics:
  • there were more than 356,000 violent incidents in the workplace in the 10 provinces, 71%, were classified as physical assaults;
  • 27% of incidents involving male victims resulted in injuries, compared with 17% of those involving female victims;
  • one-third of all workplace violent incidents involved a victim who was working in social assistance or health care services such as hospitals, nursing or residential care facilities;
  • violent workplace incidents were twice as likely as violent incidents that occurred outside the workplace to be reported to the police (37% compared to 17%);
  • nearly 9 out of 10 incidents, victims of workplace violence said they told another co-worker about the incident; two-thirds told family; two-thirds told friends or neighbours; 20% told a doctor or nurse.


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