by Michael Pines

There’s no doubt that our work can contribute to a great degree of satisfaction – or dissatisfaction – in our lives. The people we work with a large part of our world, whether we like it or not. So when work life is disrupted, our tolerance is tested – and, at times, broken. But sometimes the job itself is bad and can present opportunities for violence if the job is high-risk for robbery, theft, or other crimes. 

A new report issued by the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) says that nearly 17 percent of occupational injury in 2011 resulted from violence accounted by persons in the workplace. Included in the findings are fatalities based on homicides or suicides due to the individual’s working environment. 

The study further explained that the occupations themselves were a large contributing factor in whether the job was at risk for workplace violence. Sales positions were mostly cited with first-line supervisors and retail employees including cashiers as the most common type of occupation to experience workplace violence. 

Occupations such as law enforcement and management were also cited as common industries where workplace violence is sustained. 

How does workplace violence occur? 

The most common reason workplace injury occurs is because of robbery, theft, or other crimes that can put the employee at risk. Convenience stores, banks, and gas stations are most commonly at risk for workplace violence or injury. 

But those are not the only kinds of occupations that can put employees at risk. Bad working conditions, altercations with coworkers, or just being someone’s boss can contribute to workplace violence. 

Creating a pleasant and safe working environment. 

Finding a good job in all aspects is the first and most obvious step in creating a pleasant work environment. But, if for whatever reason you are unable to find another job right now, consider the following ideas to help make the most of your work situation. 

Keep to yourself. The Golden Rule applies in this instance, and if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Office gossip can lead to a difficult working environment not only for you, but especially for the recipient. Show up to work, do your job, and do your best to keep away from the “juicy stuff.” 

Speak up to your supervisor. If your working environment is causing stress or presents a danger, it’s important to speak up to your supervisor. Physical dangers like cutting corners or not following safety protocols should immediately be brought to the attention of your supervisor. If no action is taken, you can escalate your concerns to the Occupation Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). 

Follow safety procedures. Safety protocols for cash deposits or closing out a register are created with your safety in mind. Employees with high-risk jobs like convenience store cashiers or gas station clerks should always follow safety protocols. Minimize the cash available after dark and post notices. Maintain adequate lighting throughout your surroundings including the parking lot. Know your escape route if a robbery should occur. Safety measures like these are designed to keep you safe and to ultimately save your life. 

About Michael Pines

Michael Pines founded the Law Offices of Michael Pines, APC, in San Diego in 1992. He is an accident and injury prevention expert in San Diego, and on a campaign to end senseless injury one blog at a time.