In a startling but not uncommon incident last week, a social worker who was making a required visit to a client nearly lost her life after she was attacked in White Plains at a client’s home. The news story is just another example of the dangers facing workers who must visit clients or customers at home. There are rarely any evening news broadcasts these days that do not highlight violent acts occurring locally and nationally. Few people may realize how scary it can be out there in these times for employees on the go.
Employers have a responsibility to educate and train staff that must visit clientele outside of the work environment. While all the training in the world may not have been able to help a defenseless social worker in White Plains, there at least needs to be a proactive protocol by employers for preventing such incidents from occurring.
Perhaps if the social worker was not alone and the employer utilized a buddy system of sorts for their in-house visits, maybe such a serious violent crime would not have been committed. Perhaps employers who send their employees outside of the work environment are not always as aggressive about their training and preparedness until something bad actually happens.
There are a variety of at-risk workers who must make in-house visits – from mental health workers, the aforementioned social workers, and even utility workers, survey takers, and even delivery people who face dangers from the public daily. While there is no guarantee of safety for anyone on the job, there is a responsibility by employers and staff to take training seriously and stay proactive about providing necessary resources.