Workplace Violence

16387571_mAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were an average of 700 workplace homicides a year between 1992 and 2012. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 17% of fatal workplace injuries, in 2012, were the result of violence. Additionally, Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) estimated that, in 2009, there were about 572,000 non-fatal violent crimes committed against people while they were at work.

Types of Workplace Violence

According to the CDC, from 2003 to 2012, 28% of workplace homicides occurred within sales and related occupations, 17% were in protective service occupations, and 13% were in transportation and material moving occupations. The primary types of workplace violence are as follows:

  • Violence by strangers. The majority of workplace violence is committed by strangers who enter the workplace with the intention of committing a crime, such as a robbery. Those at highest risk for becoming a victim of this type of workplace violence work with the public, often exchanging money with customers or clients.
  • Violence by customers and clients. This includes former customers and clients. Those at high risk are workers who provide services to the public including health care, social services, and law enforcement.
  • Violence by coworkers. Although far less common than violence by strangers, coworker violence is a real danger. This includes current and former employees, supervisors and managers.
  • Violence by personal relations. Domestic violence can and does sometimes spill over into the workplace. Violence by personal relations includes violence committed by spouses, significant others, ex’s, roommates, friends, relatives, and acquaintances.


Businesses and employers should have clear policies for preventing workplace violence, and educate their employees on these policies and what they should do following any violent incident. Appropriate security measures must be taken according to the type of business, location, and known risks or threats.

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