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workplace violence statistics

26 Unsettling Workplace Violence Statistics for 2020

Workplace violence is a very real problem today. It represents either actual violence or threats of violence directed towards a person while they are at work or on duty. It is seen as a communal, societal, and organizational issue. The workplace violence statistics listed below go into detail on the realities of violence at our places of employment.

While, of course, violence in the workplace happens at a much lower rate when compared to violence outside our places of work, it’s still significant enough to warrant our attention, as well as the attention of several organizations, federal and otherwise. The statistics gathered by these organizations, and their insights, are noted below.

Key Workplace Violence Statistics & Facts to Be Aware of in 2020:

  • Between 1995 and 2015, workplace homicide rates have more than halved.
  • There are several warning signs of a person being ready to commit workplace violence.
  • Over 2 million US workers are victims of violence every year.
  • Employees working alone and outside normal work hours are at highest risk.
  • Ten percent of elementary school teachers have been threatened by their own students at one point or another.
  • A Finnish study showed that bullying has a significant effect on workplace productivity.
  • In Sweden, workplace mobbing is a factor for 10% to 15% of suicides.
  • Around 36% of legal occupation workplace deaths are due to homicide.

General Workplace Violence Statistics 


 1. Between 1995 and 2015, workplace homicide rates have more than halved.

(NCVRW Resource Guide – Workplace Violence)

According to relevant statistics on workplace violence gathered by the organization behind the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, workplace homicides have declined. Namely, in the two decades between 1995 and 2015, the number of homicides at the workplace has dropped from 1036 to 417.

2. The rate of firearm workplace homicides has also dropped by more than 50%.

(NCVRW Resource Guide – Workplace Violence)

In line with the workplace violence stats pointed out above, this type of violence is also becoming less frequent, and it relates to firearm violence, as well. While 85% of homicides at the workplace are tied to firearms, it’s still a good thing that, since 1995, the rate of this type of violence had dropped from 762 to 354 in 2015.

3. There have been over 458 fatalities in 2017 due to workplace assaults.

(National Safety Council)

Every year in America, millions of people report violence in the workplace. However, according to the data gathered by the National Safety Council, the problem is often much more severe than simple mobbing or aggression. Namely, according to workplace violence statistics from 2017, there have been 18,400 assaults at the workplace, and another 458 assaults that lead to fatalities.

 4. Worker-on-worker violence is usually between a superior and their employee.

(National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

This type of violence most often includes bullying, verbal harassment, and emotional abuse. It is usually directed towards a person who is lower on the food chain within the company’s hierarchy. In other words, the abuse is often done by the victim’s superiors.

5. There are several warning signs of a person being ready to commit workplace violence.

(National Safety Council)

There are many causes of workplace violence, as well as certain warning signs that accompany them, like the excessive use of alcohol or drugs, or paranoid behavior. A very strong, emotional response to even the slightest hint of criticism can also be a sign. Abrupt changes in behavior and continual violation of the company’s guidelines are strong factors too.

6. Men are more often victims of homicide at the workplace than women.

(NCVRW Resource Guide – Workplace Violence)

As far as data on workplace fatalities by gender is concerned, the difference is rather staggering. Men are killed at the workplace much more often than women. In fact, according to 2015 data, 61 women were killed at the workplace, compared to 356 men. Of the women killed at the workplace, 43% were murdered by a relative or partner, while for men, this amounted to only 2%.

7. Serious assault and violent victimization are low for people attacked in the workplace.

(NCVRW Resource Guide – Workplace Violence)

The data on workplace violence statistics from 2018, found within the 2018 NCVRW Resource guide, shows that serious violent victimization (rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) and simple assaults are very similar for people both employed and unemployed, as long as it happens outside the workplace. However, rates of these types of assault and victimization are at the lowest at actual workplaces.

8. Caucasians suffer 78% of workplace violence victimization, African Americans 9%, and Hispanic workers are at 8%.

(NCVRW Resource Guide – Workplace Violence)

According to relevant workplace homicide statistics, as well as data on workplace violence, in general, it seems that 78% of all incidents at the workplace are experienced by Caucasians (compared to 66% victimization outside the workplace). Then, 9% of all workplace violence victimization is suffered by African Americans (compared to 13% outside the workplace). Hispanics are at 8%, compared to 15% outside, Asian or Pacific Islanders at 3%, compared to 2%, and Native Americans at 1% for both metrics.

9. Over 2 million US workers are victims of violence every year.

(National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

Every year, two million American workers are victims of violence at the workplace. Now, according to workplace violence statistics from 2018 OSHA research, these incidents can range from “just” verbal threats and maltreatment to actual physical attacks and homicide.

10. There were 154 shootings that resulted in injuries in American hospitals between 2000 and 2011.

(New England Journal of Medicine)

In one decade, there have been 154 shootings on hospital grounds or inside the hospitals themselves. The workplace shooting statistics also state that these shootings resulted in injury of the individuals in the area.

11. When it comes to workplace violence, 44% of the time, the assailant is known to the victim.

(Health and Safety Executive)

According to the data gathered by United Kingdom organizations, 44% of the time, victims of workplace violence are familiar with the victimizers. They are usually coworkers, clients, or they have a personal relationship outside work.

12. More than 80% of active shooter incidents happen at the workplace.

(SHRM)

According to a study conducted by the FBI, between 2000 and 2013, 132 active shooter incidents happened at the workplace. These FBI workplace violence statistics show that this is 80% of the 160 shooting incidents that happened in that decade.

Careers and Statistics on Workplace Violence


13. Law enforcement officers and mental health professionals are at the highest risk of workplace violence.

(NCVRW Resource Guide – Workplace Violence)

While it may not come as a shock to learn that the highest risk of violence at the workplace is endured by law enforcement officials, it’s important to note that mental health professionals are at the second-highest risk of workplace violence. Namely, they experience 17% of all instances of workplace violence.

14. In a 2016 study, 100% of emergency department nurses experienced violence from patients.

(New England Journal of Medicine)

Nurses working in emergency departments have all, in the 12 months that preceded this relevant NEJOM study, been victims of workplace violence from patients in one form or another. So, depending on the industry you are in, the relevant workplace violence statistics by industry show that there are indeed big differences in workplace violence. 

15. There is a 70% incidence rate of physical assault in psychiatric settings.

(New England Journal of Medicine)

The yearly incidence rate for the physical assault that happens in psychiatric settings is very high. In fact, there is a 70% annual incidence rate. This same New England Journal of Medicine study also reported that, for example, 59% of nurses’ aides in dementia units are assaulted by patients on a weekly basis.

16. Around 30% of all workplace violence-caused fatalities occur in management positions.

(Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers)

A very large number of workplace violence cases involving fatalities are related to people working in management positions.

17. One-tenth of workplace injuries for healthcare workers are caused by assault.

(Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers)

Between 2011 and 2013, there have been around 23,000 to 25,000 workplace assaults every year, of which 70% to 74% happened in social care and healthcare settings. Furthermore, the violence in the workplace statistics gathered by OSHA also point out that 10% to 11% of injuries that lead to employees taking days off work in healthcare have been due to some kind of assault.

18. Employees working alone and outside normal work hours at highest risk.

(International Labor Organization)

There are several risk factors when it comes to workplace violence, but the two core ones are working alone, and shifts outside normal work hours. So, cleaners, maintenance staff, as well as small shop workers and gas station attendants – the workplace violence stats report very high rates of assaults and issues for these specific job categories.

19. Psychiatric services, geriatric care, and urban emergency departments pose the highest risk to healthcare workers.

(Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers)

While healthcare employment rates are rising, there are still some things you need to keep in mind. Namely, social service and healthcare workers have an increased risk of becoming victims of workplace violence due to the actions of their patients, and/or residents. The greatest and largest areas of risk can be found in geriatric long-term care settings and in urban emergency departments.

20. Around 36% of legal occupation workplace deaths are due to homicide.

(CNN)

Note that workplace violence statistics by industry vary and the rate of homicide deaths at the workplace is an excellent example of just that. Namely, 31% of law enforcement worker deaths, 66% of retail sales worker deaths, 36% of a legal occupation, and 13% of top executive deaths at the workplace are all due to homicide.

21. Ten percent of elementary school teachers have been threatened by their own students at one point or another.

(Institute of Education Sciences)

Both elementary and secondary school teachers report being threatened by their students. In fact, 10% of elementary school teachers, as well as 9% of secondary school teachers, claimed to have been threatened by their students.

International Workplace Violence Statistics


22. A European Union Survey shows that 6 million workers have been subjected to physical violence.

(International labor organization)

In 1996, a European Union survey was conducted. It was comprised of 15,800 interviews within 15 of its countries. Once the survey was over, it has been reported that over 6 million people experienced physical violence in the year preceding the survey. Moreover, 3 million experienced sexual harassment, and 12 million have been bullied at the workplace.

23.  The French are the most likely to actually report violence at the workplace.

(International labor organization)

The aforementioned EU survey conducted in 1996 also showed that the French were the most likely to report (or perhaps they had the most) workplace violence cases. According to the data, 11.2% of men and 8.9% of women all suffered through some sort of violence.

24. In France, 19.8% of women reported a “sexual incident” in a 12 month period.

(International labor organization)

Sexual harassment is a part of more than one definition of workplace violence, which is important to note when it comes to women. Namely, according to data of an EU survey, around 19.8% of women reported having sexual “incidents” within the 12 months that preceded the survey.

25. A Finnish study showed that bullying has a significant effect on workplace productivity.

(International labor organization)                                                   

Stress is rising, with more and more Americans feeling its effects on a continual basis. As far as emotional workplace violence incidents are concerned, a Finnish study showed that bullying could greatly affect workplace productivity. Namely, 40% of bullied employees felt a great deal of stress, 30% of them were constantly nervous, while 49% reported feeling tired on the job.

26. In Sweden, mobbing is a factor for 10% to 15% of suicides.

(International labor organization)

Mobbing is a growing issue in many developed countries. It includes ganging up on an employee with the purpose of harassing them. A happy workplace environment is essential for productivity, so every employer should keep this issue in mind. Additionally, in some cases, mobbing can be extremely problematic in Sweden, 10% to 15% of suicides include mobbing as one of the main factors. 


FAQ

Who keeps statistics on workplace violence?

There are multiple organizations that keep data on workplace violence. Among them are the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Safety Council, and the International Labor Organization, to name a few.

How common is workplace violence?

Around two million American workers suffer from some form of workplace violence every year. Of this number, there are around 700 murders annually. Take note that this type of violence depends greatly on one’s profession, as well as other factors like work hours, and whether or not you work alone.

What are the 4 types of workplace violence?

There are four types of workplace violence, all based on the intent or relationship between the victim and the assailant. These are:

  • Criminal intent
  • Personal relationship-based
  • Customer/client violence
  • Worker on worker violence

The worker on worker violence occurs between current employees, or between a current employee and an employee who worked for the same company in the past. Customer/client violence occurs between an individual who had a legitimate business-based relationship with the company in question and a member of the company.

Criminal intent, referring to workplace violence incidents, refers to somebody committing violence, robbery, shoplifting, trespassing, or an act of terrorism. The assailant causes violence while committing a criminal act, while having no personal or business-based connections to the company in question.

In regard to the “personal relationship” type, the connection between the assailant and the victim is personal. In other words, it exists outside the workplace.

How many workplace violence incidents were there in 2017?

In 2017, there have been 18,400 injuries and 458 deaths resulting from assaults in the workplace. Of these incidents, the majority happened to workers aged 25 to 34. Non-fatal assaults include kicking, hitting, beating, and shoving, while fatal assaults were caused by firearms.


Conclusion

Workplace violence is a real problem that affects many American workers every year. The above workplace violence statistics should shed some light on this issue and show just how ubiquitous this problem is. Hopefully, it will help you recognize this problem more easily and assist you in protecting both yourself and your colleagues.

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