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Home >For The Professional >
FOR THE PROFESSIONAL- Research Regarding Background/Pre-employment Checks, Lighting, Cameras


        The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
(NIOSH) recommends lighting, cameras, mirrors and background checks as strategies for the prevention of theft
and workplace violence!

     A landmark conference, held in Baltimore MD in 2004, resulted in the followng valuable information about workplace violence and its remediation:

"Since nearly all of the U.S. workforce (more than 140 million) can potentially be exposed to or affected by one of the four types of WPV [workplace violence], occupational safety and health practitioners and advocates should be concerned.   Examples of high-risk industries include the retail trade industry, whose workers are most often affected by Type I (criminal intent violence), and the health care industry, whose workers may generally be affected most by Type II (client, customer, or patient violence).   Although all four types of WPV can potentially occur in any workplace, Type III (worker-on-worker violence) and Type IV (personal relationship violence, also known as intimate partner violence), are more likely to occur across all industry sectors."  

See Table 1 below:

Table 1. Typology of workplace violence



 I: Criminal intent

      The perpetrator has no legitimate relationship to the business or its employee, and is usually committing a crime in conjunction with the violence. These crimes can include robbery, shoplifting, trespassing, and terrorism. The vast majority of workplace homicides (85%) fall into this category.


      The perpetrator has a legitimate relationship with the business and becomes violent while being served by the business. This category includes customers, clients, patients, students, inmates, and any other group for which the business provides services. It is believed that a large portion of customer/client incidents occur in the health care industry, in settings such as nursing homes or psychiatric facilities; the victims are often patient caregivers. Police officers, prison staff, flight attendants, and teachers are some other examples of workers who may be exposed to this kind of WPV, which accounts for approximately 3% of all workplace homicides.

 III: Worker-on- worker

      The perpetrator is an employee or past employee of the business who attacks or threatens another employee(s) or past employee(s) in the workplace. Worker-on-worker fatalities account for approximately 7% of all workplace homicides.

 IV: Personal   relationship

      The perpetrator usually does not have a relationship with the business but has a personal relationship with the intended victim. This category includes victims of domestic violence assaulted or threatened while at work, and accounts for about 5% of all workplace homicides.

Sources: CAL/OSHA 1995; Howard 1996; IPRC 2001.

        "WPV includes a much wider range of behaviors than just overt physical assaults that result in injury or death. Thus, WPV has been defined as 'violent acts, including physical assaults and threats of assault, directed toward persons at work or on duty' [NIOSH 1996]. It is widely agreed that violence at work is underreported, particularly since most violent or threatening behavior—including verbal violence (e.g., threats, verbal abuse, hostility, harassment) and other forms, such as stalking—may not be reported until it reaches the point of actual physical assault or other disruptive workplace behavior."
Retrieved 04/28/2007 from:

What Can Employers Do to Protect Employees, Customers and Assets?

        "The potential for Type I WPV exists across all industries but is prevalent in certain industries characterized by interaction with the public, the handling of cash, etc. Certain industries in the retail trade sector (convenience and liquor stores, for example) face higher than average risks. Specific environmental, behavioral, and administrative strategies have been implemented and evaluated as a result, particularly in convenience stores. A core group of interventions has been determined to be effective in convenience stores [Hendricks et al. 1999, Loomis et al. 2002], including the following:

3.2 Strategies Specific to Type I (Criminal Intent) Prevention

1.Environmental interventions

  • Cash control
  • Lighting control (indoor and outdoor)
  • Entry and exit control
  • Surveillance (e.g., mirrors and cameras, particularly closed-circuit cameras)
  • Signage

2.Behavioral interventions

  • Training on appropriate robbery response
  • Training on use of safety equipment
  • Training on dealing with aggressive, drunk, or otherwise problem persons

3.Administrative interventions

  • Hours of operation
  • Precautions during opening and closing
  • Good relationship with police
  • Implementing safety and security policies for all workers

**Some interventions for convenience stores and other workplaces are controversial or not universally agreed upon by researchers. These instructions will require additional study, including the following:

  • Having multiple clerks on duty
  • Using taxicab partitions
  • Having security guards present
  • Providing bullet-resistant barriers

3.4 Strategies Specific to Type III Violence (Worker-on-Worker) Prevention

3.4.1 Evaluating Prospective Workers

Preventing worker-on-worker violence begins during the hiring process by employers who ensure that job applicants are properly and thoroughly evaluated by means of background checks and reference verification.

3.4.2 Training in Policies/Reporting

A key in worker-on-worker violence prevention is the comprehensive reporting of all prohibited behaviors among workers, including threatening, harassing, bullying, stalking, etc. Therefore, training during new worker orientation and subsequent refresher training should focus on company WPV definitions, policies, and procedures. Also, reporting should be strongly encouraged and supported.

3.4.3 Focus on Observable Behaviors

The perpetrators are present or former workers who usually have substantial knowledge of coworkers, physical surroundings, and often security and violence prevention measures. Observation and reporting of changes in behavior that become a concern are critical. Therefore, a successful prevention strategy will provide procedures for reporting and addressing observable behaviors that elevate to concerns. A strong company focus and emphasis on the observation and reporting of behaviors that generate concern, coupled with timely and consistent response (see Section 3.1.3), may help create a climate that deters violent behavior.

Workplace Violence Prevention Strategies and Research Needs (September 2006).NIOSH. Center for Disease Control (CDC). (2006-144).  Retrieved 04/28/2007 from:

Negligent Hiring and Negligent Retention

Employers are being held accountable in court for the actions of their employees—if  they do not do what is known as "due diligence" before hiring them.  Due diligence just means that the employer is responsible to do everything "reasonably" available to him or her in order to identify who their employees actually are.  Much more about this!



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