Violence in the Workplace
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 96-100
Current Intelligence Bulletin 57
Public Health Summary
What are the hazards?
An average of 20 workers are murdered each week in the United States. The majority of these murders are robbery-related crimes. In addition, an estimated 1 million workers are assaulted annually in U.S. workplaces. Most of these assaults occur in service settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, and social service agencies. Factors that place workers at risk for violence in the workplace include interacting with the public, exchanging money, delivering services or goods, working late at night or during early morning hours, working alone, guarding valuables or property, and dealing with violent people or volatile situations.
How can I be exposed or put at risk?
Anyone can become the victim of a workplace assault, but the risks are much greater in certain industries and occupations. For workplace homicides, taxicab drivers have the highest risk of any occupational group; for nonfatal workplace assaults, workers in health care, community services, and retail settings are at increased risk.
What recommendations has the Federal government made to protect my health?
A number of environmental, administrative, and behavioral strategies have the potential for reducing the risk of workplace violence. No single strategy is appropriate for all workplaces, but all workers and employers should assess the risk of violence in their workplaces and take appropriate action to reduce those risks. Collecting information about all incidents of workplace violence helps determine whether prevention strategies are necessary, appropriate, and effective.
Where can I get more information?
The references and related reading list at the end of this document provide a useful inventory of published reports and literature. A number of unions, employer groups, and professionals in occupational safety and health, human resources, and employee assistance have also developed materials regarding workplace violence. Any resource should be evaluated in light of the violence experienced in specific workplaces.