Homicide is now the third highest work-related cause of death in the United States. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health conducted an in-depth study of homicides at work from 1980 to 1988. They found that homicide accounted for 12% of job-related deaths. It has been documented that 7,603 people were killed during the same time period, a rate of .7% homicides per 100,000 workers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that homicide was the leading cause of death for women at work, accounting for 42% of on-the-job fatalities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, after motor vehicle incidents, homicide is the leading cause of death in the workplace. BLS recorded 1,004 workers murdered on the job in 1992; about at one-third increase over workplace homicides than during the 1980's. The Justice Department reported in 1994 that one-sixth of all violent crimes in the United States occur in the workplace.
The American Management Association surveyed 500 companies and nearly one-fourth stated that a minimum of one worker had been attacked or murdered on the job since 1990. Almost one-third stated that a violent incident has occurred more than one time.
According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, guns account for 75% of workplace homicide deaths.
Types of Workplace Violence
According to studies by the National Safe Workplace Institute in Chicago, the most dramatically increasing type of workplace violence is employer-directed. Until late 1992, there was an average of one employer-directed homicide per month in the United States. Recently that has escalated to an average of five or six monthly. Workplace violence is identified by the following types:
OSHA Reporting and Requirements
OSHA 29 CFR 1904.8 generally requires employers to orally report incidents, including those involving workplace violence, that result in 1) the hospitalization of three or more employees, or 2) a fatality. Oral reports must be made within 8 hours to the nearest OSHA Office or appropriate State OSH Act Enforcement Agency.
OSHA 29 CFR 1904.2 generally requires employers to keep a log and summary of all recordable occupational injuries and illnesses sustained by their employees. Injuries and illnesses that occur as a result of workplace violence are recordable where the event occurs on the employer's premises. If the event occurs off the employer's premises, it is recordable if the worker has engaged in work related activities, or was present at the site of the event as a condition of employment.
Warning Signs of Violence
- Property destruction
- Physical fighting
- Suicidal threats
- Use of weapons to harm others
What You Can Do At Work
Awareness is the first step in preventing workplace violence.