The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has taken its authority to prevent accidents and hazards in the workplace and extended it to include violence in the workplace. OSHA will now be able to penalize employers who don’t take proper precautions to stop it.

OSHA has defined workplace violence under four categories.

• Criminal Intent – defined as “violent acts by people who enter the workplace to commit a robbery or other crime – or current or former employees who enter the workplace with the intent to commit a crime.”

• Customers/Clients/Patients – defined as “violence directed at employees by customers, clients, patients, students, inmates or any others to whom the employer provides a service.”

• Co-workers – defined as “violence against co-workers, supervisors, or managers by a current or former employee, supervisor, or manager.”

• Personal – defined as “violence in the workplace by someone who does not work there, but who is known to, or has a personal relationship with, an employee.”

OSHA says its authority to penalize employers stems from the section of the General Duty Clause that requires employers to keep workplaces free from “recognized hazards.”

The scope of the directive includes any “complaint, referral or fatality and/or catastrophe involving an incident of workplace violence. Suggestions for anti-violence measures to be taken by employers are  alarm systems, panic buttons, metal detectors and training.

To read the full directive, go here