About Workplace Violence

Key points

  • Workplace violence can happen to any type of worker in any work setting, though some workers have a higher risk.
  • Workplace violence can cause long-term effects, both physical and psychological.
  • NIOSH funds, conducts, and publishes research to reduce workplace violence.
Broken glass

What it is

Workplace violence is the act or threat of violence. It ranges from verbal abuse to physical assaults directed toward people at work or on duty. Violence can occur in any workplace and among any type of worker.

The impact of workplace violence can range from psychological issues to physical injury, or even death.

The risk for fatal violence is greater for workers in sales, protective services, and transportation. The risk for nonfatal violence resulting in days away from work is greatest for healthcare and social assistance workers.

Workplace violence prevention course for nurses‎

This award-winning course completed by more than 45,000 healthcare workers educates nurses on the scope and nature of violence and how to prevent it in the workplace. Take the course now to earn your free continuing education units!

Quick facts and stats


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20,050 workers in the private industry experienced trauma from nonfatal workplace violence in 2020. These incidents required days away from work.1

Of those victims who experienced trauma from workplace violence:

  • 73% were female
  • 62% were aged 25-54
  • 76% worked in the healthcare and social assistance industry
  • 22% required 31 or more days away from work to recover
  • 22% involved 3-5 days away from work


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 392 U.S. workers died from workplace homicide in 2020.2

Of those victims who died from homicide:

  • 81% were men
  • 44% were aged 25-44
  • 28% were Black
  • 18% were Hispanic
  • 30% performed retail-related tasks (e.g., waiting on customers)

Programs and initiatives

NIOSH funds, conducts, and publishes research focused on risk factors and prevention strategies for workplace violence.

Employers, occupational safety and health professionals, and workers can use the following resources to reduce occupational violence.







Journal articles

More on workplace violence‎

NIOSHTIC-2 is a searchable database of occupational safety and health resources supported in whole or in part by NIOSH. Use these recommended search terms: Homicide, Violence, Aggression, Bullying, Harassment, Mistreatment.
  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2020). TABLE R4. Number of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work by industry and selected events or exposures leading to injury or illness, private industry, 2020.
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2020). Fatal occupational injuries by selected worker characteristics and selected event or exposure, All U.S., all ownerships, 2020.