Trainings focus on violence in the workplace

UFCW Local 1428 held two three-hour trainings in Work­place Violence Prevention on Nov. 7. We scheduled sessions in the morning and afternoon so as many members could attend as possible.

We’ve all seen stories of increasing workplace violence. Usually, it’s been external with random shootings or fights in the parking lot, but it’s gotten worse and is now within the walls of the store.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace violence is the second leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States, affecting nearly two million American workers annually.

The problem could be a customer yelling at a co-worker, like during the pandemic when people were yelling at members, “I’m not going to wear my mask, and there’s nothing you can do about it!” Or it could be worse than yelling and ramp up to other kinds of assaults, including racial insults and armed robberies.

Companies typically provide an hour of training — they are, after all, legally liable for their employees’ safety — but we need more. Our union intends to help members have a plan to identify potential dangers and prevent violence from developing in the first place.

This recent training was the first of a series. More will follow.

Our participants conclude the training with more than a certificate of completion. They bring their knowledge back to their worksites and share it with their co-workers.

Workplace protection laws

Workplace protection laws are essential for making jobs safer for everyone. This is why the UFCW lobbied for Senate Bill 553, which the governor signed on Sept. 30. The law requires retail employers to adopt workplace violence prevention plans, maintain records of any threats or incidents of workplace violence, and provide effective training to workers on violence prevention.

This is the first law of its kind in country to protect retail workers. It is modeled after the first workplace violence protection law for the health care industry, which passed a few years ago.

We will alert you to future seminars as they become available.