Workplace safety and firearms

On Behalf of | Oct 31, 2016 | Firm News |

While many Wisconsin residents might have strong feelings about the Second Amendment, there are also substantial concerns about various types of violence inflicted because of the misuse of weapons. OSHA notes that approximately 2 million U.S. residents are directly affected by workplace violence annually, and homicide is one of the five leading causes of deaths in the workplace each year.

Although OSHA regulations don’t specifically address an employer’s responsibility with regard to workplace violence, they do mandate that employers provide environments free from serious hazards. Employers may be guided by state laws related to issues such as firearms. An employer might not be able to dictate an employee’s use of weapons privately, but there may be room for restricting the carrying of firearms on company property.

As an example, auxiliary property such as a parking lot might be difficult to regulate. People might be able to carry a weapon in their private vehicles as long as the item is stored in accordance with state laws. To gain greater control over such areas, an employer might consider fencing or otherwise restricting access in order to legally prohibit the transport of a firearm across that barrier. Employers must be clear in documenting and communicating their weapons policies. By complying with state laws and company policies, an employer may protect itself against legal backlash in case of a workplace violence incident.

An injury incurred on the job typically affords a worker access to medical care and possible partial wage replacement. Confusion might arise in a workplace violence situation, especially if an employee is denied access to these benefits based on the cause of the injury. Attorneys could be helpful in such a scenario to ensure that both the employee and the employer have a clear understanding of the legal issues at play.