J. R. Roberts Security Consulting
Risk Factors and Prevention Strategies
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN
Centers for Disease Control and
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Division of Safety Research
Table of Contents
Each week in the United States, an average of 20 workers are murdered and 18,000 are assaulted while at work. These staggering figures should not be an accepted cost of doing business in our societynor should death or injury be an inevitable result of one's chosen occupation.
Violence is a substantial contributor to occupational injury and death, and homicide has become the second leading cause of occupational injury death.
This document was prepared by Lynn Jenkins of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
- Public Health Summary
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.
Death or injury should not be an inevitable result of one's chosen occupation, nor should these staggering figures be accepted as a cost of doing business in our society.
- Purpose and Scope
The circumstances of workplace violence also vary and may include robbery-associated violence; violence by disgruntled clients, customers, patients, inmates, etc.; violence by coworkers, employees, or employers; and domestic violence that finds its way into the workplace.
- Homicide in the
Homicide rates for taxicab drivers and security guards were one and a half times higher during the early 1990s than they had been during 198389.
- Nonfatal Assaults in
Nearly half (47%) of the workplace assaults were described as incidents involving hitting, kicking, or beating; there were also cases of squeezing, pinching, scratching, biting, stabbing, and shooting, as well as rapes and threats of violence
- Risk Factors and
Numerous security devices may reduce the risk for assaults against workers and facilitate the identification and apprehension of perpetrators. These include closed-circuit cameras, alarms, two-way mirrors, card-key access systems, panic-bar doors locked from the outside only, and trouble lights or geographic locating devices in taxicabs and other mobile workplaces.
- Developing and
Implementing a Workplace Violence Prevention Program and Policy
Much discussion has also centered around the role of stress in workplace violence. The most important thing to remember is that stress can be both a cause and an effect of workplace violence.
- Current Efforts and
Future Directions: Research and Prevention
The murder of an average of 20 workers each week is unacceptable and should not be considered the cost of doing business in our society.
- References Cited
References Cited include Violence and theft in the workplace, Violence in the workplace comes under closer scrutiny, Workplace homicides in 1992, Nonfatal violence in the workplace: directions for future research, Industries and occupations at high risk for work-related homicide
- Related Reading
Titles include Hidden violence against women at work, The sexual assault of women at work, Female homicides in United States workplaces, Study of assaults on staff in Washington State Psychiatric Hospitals, Staff injuries from inpatient violence
Mention of any company or product does not constitute endorsement by the
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
This document is in the public domain and may be freely copied or
Copies of this and other NIOSH documents are available from:
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National Institute for Occupational Safety
4676 Columbia Parkway
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Telephone number: 1-800-35-NIOSH
To receive other information about occupational safety and
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DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 96-100