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Workplace Violence PDF icon


Millions of workers experience violence or the threat of violence in their workplaces every year. These crimes range from physical assaults to robbery and homicide. Although the numbers of such crimes have significantly declined in recent years, workplace violence is the second-leading cause of occupational injury. Workers in certain occupations—such as nurses, utility workers, taxi drivers, letter carriers, and especially those who work alone or at night—are particularly vulnerable. Unlike other crimes, the greatest proportions of these crimes are committed by strangers. The majority of workplace homicides are shootings committed by robbers. Decreasing the occurrence of these crimes is a growing concern for employers and employees nationwide. 

  • In 2011, 458 workplace homicides occurred, a decrease from 518 in 2010 and 542 in 2009. Since 1993, the number of workplace homicides declined 57 percent from 1,068 to 458.[1]
  • Chart: Workplace homicide by typeBetween 1997 and 2010, 79 percent of workplace homicides were shootings. Other homicides were the result of stabbing; hitting, kicking, and beating; assaults and violent acts by persons; and other means.[2]
  • Homicide is the second-leading cause of fatal occupational injury, at 18 percent of such injuries.[3]
  • Between 2005 and 2009, about 70 percent of workplace homicides were committed by robbers and other assailants, while about 21 percent were committed by work associates.[4]
  • In 2011, 21 percent of female fatal work injuries were homicides.[5] In 40 percent of these female workplace homicides, the perpetrators were relatives—almost all being a spouse or a domestic partner.[6] Only 9 percent of male fatal work injuries were homicides. In male workplace homicides, 2 percent of the perpetrators were relatives.[7]
  • In 2011, 22 percent of female workplace homicides were committed during the commission of a robbery. Robbers were the most common assailants in workplace homicides of male workers.[8]
  • Among workplace homicides that occurred between 2005 and 2009, about 28 percent involved victims in sales and related occupations, and about 17 percent involved victims in protective service occupations.[9]
  • In 2011, 456 persons holding management positions were fatally injured in the workplace. Of this total, 108 fatalities resulted from violence and other injuries by persons or animals.[10]
  • Chart: Violent crimes against victims working or on dutyIn 2008, 15 percent of all nonfatal violent crimes and of all property crimes were committed against victims who were at work or on duty at the time.[11]
  • Of the nonfatal violent crimes committed against victims who were working or on duty in 2008, 82 percent were simple assaults, 15 percent were aggravated assaults, 2 percent were rapes or sexual assaults, and 2 percent were robberies.[12]
  • From 2002 to 2009, the rate of nonfatal workplace violence declined by 35 percent, following a 62-percent decline in the rate from 1993 to 2002.[13]
  • Chart: Nonfatal workplace violence committed by strangersThe average annual rate of workplace violence between 2005 and 2009 (5 violent crimes per 1,000 employed persons age 16 or older) was about one-third the rate of non-workplace violence (16 violent crimes per 1,000 employed persons age 16 or older) and violence against persons not employed (17 violent crimes per 1,000 persons age 16 or older).[14]
  • Strangers committed the greatest proportion of nonfatal workplace violence against males (53 percent) and females (41 percent) between 2005 and 2009.[15]
  • More than one-half (55 percent) of emergency nurses reported having experienced physical violence and/or verbal abuse from a patient and/or visitor during a seven-day calendar period in which the nurses worked an average of 36.9 hours.[16]Chart: Violence against emergency room nurses (within a seven-day period)
  • Eleven percent of emergency nurses reported both physical and verbal abuse over a seven-day period—and 1 percent reported physical abuse—while 43 percent reported verbal abuse alone in the past seven days.[17]
  • Of emergency room nurses who reported being victims of physical violence in the workplace, 62 percent experienced more than one incident of physical violence from a patient or visitor during a seven-day period.[18]

References

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, “National Consensus of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2011 (Preliminary Results),” News Release, January 12, 2012, 2, accessed October 12, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf.
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Homicide: Occupational Homicides by Selected Characteristics, 1997-2010,” (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, 2012), calculated from data on p. 1, accessed September 27, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/work_hom.pdf.
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, “National Consensus of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2009 (Preliminary Results),” News Release, August 19, 2010, 7, accessed October 12, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/cfoi_08192010.pdf.
  4. Erika Harrell, Workplace Violence: 1993-2009, (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, 2011), 1, accessed September 27, 2012, http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/wv09.pdf.
  5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “National Consensus of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2011,” calculated from data on p. 2.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Harrell, Workplace Violence: 1993-2009, 1.
  10. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Table A-5. Fatal Occupational Injuries by Occupation and Event or Exposure, All U.S., 2011,” (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, 2012), accessed October 16, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cftb0263.pdf.
  11. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2008: Statistical Tables, (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, 2010), calculated from data in Table 64, accessed September 27, 2012, http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/cvus08.pdf.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Harrell, Workplace Violence: 1993-2009, 1.
  14. Ibid.
  15. Ibid.
  16. Emergency Nurses Association, Emergency Department Violence Surveillance Study, (Des Plaines, IL: 2011), 16, accessed September 27, 2012, http://www.ena.org/IENR/Documents/ENAEDVSReportNovember2011.pdf.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Ibid., 16.