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Workplace violence report looks at 27 years of data

Photo: kali9/iStockphoto

Washington — Workplace violence led to nearly 18,000 deaths over a recent 27-year period, according to a recently published report from NIOSH and two other federal agencies.

Indicators of Workplace Violence, 2019 – released July 21 – presents 13 indicators of workplace violence based on data from five federal data collections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and four other surveys. Those indicators include characteristics of victims, weapons used in nonfatal violence and nonfatal injuries resulting in days away from work. The Bureau of Justice Statistics also contributed to the report.

A total of 17,865 workers were victims of workplace homicides from 1992 to 2019 – with a high of 1,080 in 1994. In 2019, workplace homicides totaled 454 – a 58% drop from the 1994 total. Over the last six years of the study period, workplace violence-related deaths rose 11%, from 409 in 2014.

Between 2015 and 2019, sales and related occupations accounted for 21% of all workplace homicides, and protective services workers (police officers, security guards, etc.) made up 19%. Additionally, males comprised 82% of workplace homicide victims. Shootings accounted for 79% of workplace homicides, while stabbing, cutting, slashing or piercing made up 9% of the total.

Around 1.3 million nonfatal violent crimes took place at workplaces annually from 2015 to 2019, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey. Those crimes included about 979,000 simple assaults, 186,000 aggravated assaults, 53,000 rapes or sexual assaults, and 46,000 robberies a year.


Other key 2015-2019 data:

  • Corrections workers had the highest annual nonfatal workplace violence case rate, at 149.1 per 1,000 workers.
  • The average annual rate of nonfatal workplace violence crimes for all workers was eight per 1,000 workers.
  • Strangers perpetrated 47% of nonfatal workplace violence incidents.
  • Female victims were more likely to know their offender.
  • Among victims of nonfatal workplace violence, 15% said they had severe emotional distress because of the crime.

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