September 3, 2020

CDC Publishes Strategies for Limiting Workplace Violence Related to COVID-19 Policies

A new CDC webpage provides strategies to limit violence against workers in retail and services who may be threatened or assaulted as businesses implement policies or practices intended to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Workers may become targets of workplace violence as businesses require masks to be worn by employees and customers, ask customers to follow social-distancing rules, and limit the number of customers allowed in a business. CDC’s guidance states that workers should not attempt to force anyone who appears upset or violent to follow COVID-19 prevention policies and should not argue with customers who make threats or become violent.

CDC urges employers to take action to prevent workplace violence by offering customers options to minimize their contact with others and promote social distancing. Employers should also post signs to inform customers about policies related to masks and social distancing, consider advertising COVID-19 policies on the business website, and provide employee training on workplace violence response. Employers should also identify a safe area for employees to go if they feel they are in danger; this area could be a room that locks from the inside, has a second exit route, and has a phone or silent alarm.

More information on workplace violence and COVID-19 is available on CDC’s website.