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Contributed by TAL Global 

The United Nations has just released a report that finds a quarter of all workers around the globe have experienced some form of workplace violence — physical, emotional, or sexual — while on the job.

According to this report, physical violence refers to being hit, restrained, or spit on. It also includes sexual violence. Nearly 10 percent of the 75,000 workers interviewed reported experiencing physical violence.

Psychological violence refers to being subjected to insults, threats, bullying, or intimidation at work. Eighteen percent of the workers interviewed, divided relatively evenly between men and women, say they have experienced this violence.

However, it was in the Americas, referring to the United States and Canada, where psychological violence is most profound. Nearly a third of all workers in these two countries reported being subjected to this behavior.

“The report also indicates victims of violence report it happening multiple times,” says Johnathan Tal, CEO of TAL Global, a security consulting and risk management firm based in Silicon Valley. “This tells us many companies either ignore or tolerate violence. This has an overall negative impact on employee wellbeing and productivity.”

 The report also noted:

● Young people, migrant workers, and women are subjected to psychological violence more often than men.

● Physical violence on the job is a bigger threat to men than to women.

● Young women are twice as likely as men to have experienced sexual violence or harassment.

● Those most likely to experience some form of violence say it is because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or a disability.

The UN report also listed steps countries and organizations can take to reduce these problems, starting with collecting data.

“Many organizations are proactively collecting data and [taking steps to] prevent workplace violence, but more needs to be done,” adds Tal. "All too often, organizations are so focused on their core mission that workplace violence is not on their radar. This can be a regrettable and costly mistake.”    

Other suggestions in the report include urging countries to step up workplace inspections and having companies develop strategies to mitigate or prevent such violence.

Tal adds that mitigating or preventing workplace violence usually starts with a risk assessment* and developing a “zero tolerance attitude toward workplace violence along with creating procedures and training programs so supervisors can recognize such behaviors and report them."