Last week OSHA issued updated guidance and procedures for enforcing and investigating workplace violence issues.  In summary, the document is intended to help enforcement officers determine whether or not to initiate an enforcement inspection and issue citations as a result of workplace violence complaints and instances.

The document supersedes a previous procedure from September of 2008. Major changes include clarifying healthcare facility types where workplace violence is likely to occur, expands higher risk occupations and industries including Taxi services/healthcare/social services/corrections establishments/late night retail, offers more resources for enforcement officers, how to manage settlement agreements and changes notification dates.

The new document also explains how to evaluate workplace violence incidents in order to determine whether an enforcement inspection should occur, determine what is required under the General Duty clause to justify citations, clarifies resources for enforcement staff for determining citations, and how OSHA can assist employers with addressing this hazard.

Businesses in high risk industries need to take note of this document and take the necessary steps to identify and abate recognized workplace violence hazards.