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Workplace violence in the USA: from research to prevention.

Injury Prevention and Control, 6th World Conference, Montréal, Quebec, Canada, May 12-15, 2002. Montréal: Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 2002 May; :408-409
Violence committed against workers while performing job-related tasks is an issue of paramount importance. In the USA, national data exist on both fatal and nonfatal workplace violence incidents and a number of state and industry-specific studies have been conducted to characterize specific risk factors and potential prevention strategies. This paper will synthesize data from a number of sources in order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the range of important issues with regard to the incidence of workplace violence as well as the risk factors and prevention strategies. During the 5-year period from 1995 through 1999, there were an average 838 work place homicides annually in the U.S. (BLS 2001). In 2000, there were 677 workplace homicides; 46% of these occurred in retail trades. With regard to nonfatal workplace violence, data from the National Crime Victimization Survey for the years 1992 to 1996 indicate that a average 2 million workers were victims of violent incidents while working or on duty each year (BJS 1998). The most common type of workplace victimization was simple assault with an estimated 1.5 million occurring each year. Approximately 12% of the nonfatal violent workplace crimes resulted in an injury to the victim and of those injured, about half received medical care. The occupational groups with the highest rates of victimization per 1,000 workers were law enforcement officers, taxicab drivers, workers in bars and gas stations, and mental health professionals. A number of strategies have been suggested to reduce workplace violence ranging from changes to the physical design of workplaces to administrative policies and procedures as well as various Behavioural or trainning approaches. Workplace violence is a substantial contributor to death and injury on the job in the USA. While a number of strategies have been suggested and tried for reducing the incidence of workplace violence, there is little empirical evidence regarding the effectiveness of the various strategies, even in high-risk settings. Fututre research should focus on elucidating specific workplace and work task information to better understand risk factors for workplace violence and on evaluating the efficacy of various enviromental, administrative, and Behavioural strategies in reducing the incidence and severity of workplace violence incidents.
Worker-health; Workplace-monitoring; Work-environment; Workers; Risk-factors; Behavior; Behavioral-disorders; Police-officers; Law-enforcement-workers; Retail-workers; Traumatic-injuries; Injury-prevention
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Injury Prevention and Control, 6th World Conference, Montréal, Quebec, Canada, May 12-15, 2002