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Violence on the Job - image of shattered glass


Workplace Violence Prevention for Nurses

starting page of training module: Workplace Violence Prevention for NursesThe workplace violence prevention course is designed to give healthcare workers an opportunity to acquire free workplace violence prevention training while earning free continuing education units.


The magnitude of workplace violence in the United States is measured with fatal and nonfatal statistics from several sources. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reported 13,827 workplace homicide victims between 1992 and 2010. Averaging over 700 homicides per year, the largest number of homicides in one year (n=1080) occurred in 1994, while the lowest number (n=518) occurred in 2010.

From 2003 to 2010 over half of the workplace homicides occurred within three occupation classifications: sales and related occupations (28%), protective service occupations (17%), and transportation and material moving occupations (13%).

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) reported an estimated 130,290 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work during the 2003 to 2010 time period. The Healthcare and Social Assistance Industry accounted for 63% of these injuries and illnesses each year.

Data collected by the Consumer Product Safety Commissions’ National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) that is collected in collaboration with NIOSH (NEISS-Work Supplement) estimated more than 137,000 workers were treated in emergency departments for nonfatal assaults in 2009.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) estimated the number of nonfatal violent crimes occurring against persons 16 or older while they were at work in 2009 at 572,000.

As an integral part of a broad-based initiative to reduce the incidence of occupational violence in this country, NIOSH conducts, funds, and publishes research on risk factors and prevention strategies related to workplace violence. This site contains information on NIOSH research as well as links to statistical reports, and public and private initiatives to address the problems of workplace violence.

NIOSH solicited grant applications for research to reduce the risk of injuries due to violence in the workplace through targeted Requests for Applications (RFA) in 2002 and 2008. Areas of interest for the applications included reducing the risk of injuries due to workplace violence through the development and evaluation of new intervention strategies, the evaluation of existing interventions, and the adoption of these strategies in the workplace.

Grants awarded under the 2002 RFA were:

  • Evaluation of Workplace Violence Prevention Intervention - University of Maryland
  • Evaluation of California Initiatives to Reduce Violence in Health Care Settings - University of Iowa
  • Risks for Workplace Violence in Long-haul Truckers - University of Kentucky
  • Organizational Factors Affecting Police Victimization - Police Executive Research Forum
  • Spokane Workplace Domestic Violence Initiative - Washington State University

Grants awarded under the 2008 RFA were:

  • A Multi-site Intervention to Reduce Violence in Hospital Emergency Departments - University of Cincinnati
  • Translation of a Robbery and Violence Prevention Program to High Risk Businesses - University of North Carolina
  • Evaluation of the Oregon Protective Leave Law for Victims of Violence - Johns Hopkins University

Other recent grants awarded by the NIOSH extramural research program include:

  • Using a System-wide Database to Reduce Workplace Violence in Hospitals - Wayne State University
  • Improving Dissemination of a Retail Workplace Violence Prevention Program - University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Development and Evaluation of a Comprehensive Hospital Violence Surveillance System – University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston
  • Developing an Intervention to Reduce Workplace Violence in Healthcare Settings - Washington State Department of Labor & Industries

Recent NIOSH Research on Occupational Violence and Homicide

The NIOSH Occupational Health Safety Network (OHSN) is a secure electronic surveillance system designed to promote analysis and benchmarking of existing occupational health data to prevent injury and illness among healthcare workers. Occupational Health Staff and Workplace Safety Managers use OHSN Tools to convert data to OHSN format, then upload without worker identifiers to the secure web portal. Current modules focus on traumatic injuries among healthcare workers including musculoskeletal injuries from patient handling events ; slips, trips, and falls; and workplace violence.

Journal articles from the following field studies and surveys are available in the publications section.



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