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Colorado workplace injury could come from gun violence

The carrying of concealed weapons is an issue that concerns many in Colorado as well as in other states. For employers, the questions can surround employee safety and the laws pertaining to the ability to carry a weapon in our state. Each employer has a duty, as defined by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration to ensure that their workers are in a safe place or they may face liability for injuries at work.

According to one recent report that may be of interest to readers in Colorado, there were 358 workplace shootings that resulted in death or injury to employees across the nation in 2011. The reasons that a person may enter a workplace and begin to shoot are varied. They typically include domestic issues, termination issues and employer/employee conflict.

The question for employers in our state and elsewhere is how to handle workplace injury from violence while addressing the constitutional rights of employees. For many, this means allowing employees to have legally obtained weapons stored in the locked cars of employees. Other employers find that a no firearm policy better protects their employees. Though the results are different, many companies are working to find a way to protect those they employ from workplace violence.

If these efforts are not successful, a worker may find that they have suffered a workplace injury as a result of their employment. In many such instances, the employee is eligible to make a claim through the state workers' compensation program. The benefits provided by this insurance program are intended to help the victim of a workplace injury to recover. The payments can include lost income from work and medical care for the injured employee or their survivors.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Plans to prevent workplace violence urged," Gabrielle Banks, Feb. 11, 2013

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