AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

PREVENTION OF WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

WHEREAS, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was signed in 1970; and

WHEREAS, OSHA mandates that all employers have a general duty to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm; and

WHEREAS, even in those states and local municipalities that fail to provide OSHA protection, to a combined total of more than 7.5 million public employees, there exists a moral obligation to protect workers from workplace violence; and

WHEREAS, more than 2 million Americans are victims of workplace assault, 6 million Americans are threatened with physical violence at work and 16 million Americans are harassed at work each year; and

WHEREAS, federal, state and local government employees represent only 18 percent of the American workforce but account for 30 percent of the workplace violence; and

WHEREAS, political initiatives to downsize government at every level have generally resulted in a more stressful public work environment; and

WHEREAS, highly stressed workers experience twice the rate of workplace violence and harassment; and

WHEREAS, 58 percent of harassed employees do not report incidents of harassment, and 24 percent of workers physically assaulted at work do not report attacks; and

WHEREAS, job-related injuries result in lost production, lost wages and increased medical expenses and disability compensation claims; and

WHEREAS, advanced planning and ongoing commitment to the evaluation of potential hazards of workplace violence can effectively control, reduce or prevent future incidents of violence:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers adopt and actively promote the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s "Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health Care and Social Service Workers," which includes four main workplace violence prevention components, (1) management commitment and employee involvement, (2) worksite analysis, (3) hazard prevention and control and (4) safety and health training; and

RESOLVED, that the guidelines for preventing workplace violence, while specifically outlined in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s circular for health care and social service workers can and should be implemented in every workplace.


(1996)