Recovering from Navy Yard shootings: How the workplace can be made safer for employees

INDIANAPOLIS - Workplace violence usually doesn't rise to the level of Monday’s violence at the Navy Shipyard. But it's a common problem in the workplace -- despite strict employer rules on violence.

RTV6 looked at how bad the problem is and if anything can be done to make work safe for employees.

The bloody rampage on Monday at Washington's Navy Yard that left 13 dead including the gunman is the latest extreme example of violence in the workplace, and no state is immune.

Last November, Anthony Hicks, a long-time employee of Conagra Foods in Indianapolis, was gunned down in the company's break room by co-worker Alfonzo Laws.

“It just killed me to know that one of my neighbors got killed so violently,” neighbor Samantha Carver said about Hicks. “I've never had anyone die like that."

The State Labor Department said of the 113 workers killed on the job last year, workplace violence accounted for 12 percent of those deaths. Government figures say workplace violence is the second leading cause of occupational injury.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said nearly 2 million workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year. While many companies have a zero-tolerance policy, many more of those cases go unreported.

State legislator and attorney Ed Delaney was brutally beaten by a man in 2009 over a decades-old legal case.

“I think part of it is that we have to change our culture toward violence. We also have to be more sensitive to people who show extreme anger,” Delaney said. “We've got to figure out how to deal with that and we're not getting it done."

While federal investigators are trying to determine a motive in the Navy Yard killings, it’s the latest chilling example of extreme violence claiming more lives at work.

Indiana has a law that allows employees to bring guns to work as long as they are locked in their cars. Critics fear that can lead to more workplace violence and homicides.

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