With limited exceptions, all Michigan employers must provide workers’ compensation insurance to cover medical expenses and lost wages caused by workplace accidents.
But according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules, workers’ comp also covers injuries caused by violent acts on employees while performing their job duties.
Which workers are more at risk?
OSHA estimates that more than 2 million workers are injured each year due to violence. While these intentional acts can occur in any industry, the workers most often injured are:
- Health care workers
- Social workers
- Rideshare or taxi drivers
- Grocery store employees
- Delivery drivers
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, three out of every four violent workplace incidents involved injured health workers in 2020.
Health care providers have been slow to address this trend
Federal and state laws require employers to provide a safe workplace. While some say COVID-19 is to blame for the rise in attacks on health care workers, statistics show violence was trending upward before the pandemic hit.
While the Michigan Health and Hospital Association says the statistics are alarming, health care institutions have done little to address this troubling trend. Critics say hospital reporting systems over violence between co-workers, workers and patients or others are complex and cumbersome.
Legislation would protect health care workers
Two bills currently under consideration in the Michigan House and Senate would require health care institutions to prevent and manage violent incidents by:
- Adopting workplace violence prevention plans with input from frontline workers
- Tracking violent incidents and reporting injuries to law enforcement
- Training employees to follow policies, report violence and use prevention tactics, such as de-escalation
If you are a victim of workplace violence, it’s advisable to seek experienced legal advice to comply with the state’s guidelines for filing a workers’ compensation claim to pay for medical costs and wage losses or any other benefits you may be entitled to receive.