Violence in the workplace is a serious safety and health issue. Its most extreme form, homicide, is the third-leading cause of fatal occupational injury in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), there were 639 workplace homicides in 2001 in the United States, out of a total of 8,786 fatal work injuries. A total of 2,886 work-related fatalities resulted from the events of September 11th. Excluding these fatalities, the overall workplace fatality count was 5,900 for 20011.
Environmental conditions associated with workplace assaults have been identified and control strategies implemented in a number of work settings. OSHA has developed guidelines and recommendations to reduce worker exposures to this hazard but is not initiating rulemaking at this time.
Commonly Asked Questions
The following commonly asked questions link to resources that provide useful safety and health information about workplace violence.
- Where can I find information about workplace violence and how to prevent it?
- What training resources are available?
Recognition and Control
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)/Federal OSHA
- Workplace Violence. OSHA Fact Sheet (2002), 340 KB PDF, 2 pages. Provides basic information about vulnerable occupations, employer/employee roles in prevention and protection, and recommendations for response to violent incidents.
- Fatal occupational injuries by event or exposure and major private industry division, 2001. U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20 KB PDF, 4 pages. Includes the category “Assaults and Violent Acts.”
- Hospital eTool: Workplace Violence. OSHA, 10 pages. This eTool module includes recommendations for establishing a violence prevention program.
- Work-related Homicides: The Facts. DOL, Bureau of Labor Statistics (2000), 76 KB PDF, 6 pages. Information on work-related homicides. Data include information about the perpetrators, demographics of the decedents, and other relevant facts about these events, such as the time of the incident, the location, and the type of establishment in which the homicide occurred.
- Risk Factors and Protective Measures for Taxi and Livery Drivers. OSHA Facts (2000, May), 40KB PDF, 2 pages.
- Recommendations for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs in Late-Night Retail Establishments. OSHA Publication 3153 (1998), 110 KB PDF, 43 pages.
- Workplace Violence Awareness & Prevention. OSHA and The Long Island Coalition for Workplace Violence Awareness and Prevention (1996, February). Includes facts and figures about workplace violence, elements of a workplace violence prevention program, and a sample program.
- Keeping Your Workplace Safe. Brochure for small business owners, 551 KB PDF, 6 pages
- Preventing Workplace Violence. Occupational Safety and Health State Plan Association (OSHSPA) (1999). A section of the Grassroots Worker Protection report that highlights how state programs help to ensure safe and healthful workplaces.
- Violence in the Workplace: Oregon, 1991-1995. Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (1996, December), 66 KB PDF, 11 pages. A Study of Workers’ Compensation Claims Caused by Violent Acts, 1991 to 1995.
- Cal/OSHA Guidelines for Workplace Security. State of California (1995, March 30), 20 pages. These guidelines are designed to provide information and guidance about workplace security issues to California employers and employees as well as to Cal/OSHA personnel.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
- Stress at Work. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 99-101 (1999), 18 pages. Job stress poses a threat to the health of workers and, in turn, to the health of organizations. This booklet highlights knowledge about the causes of stress at work and outlines steps that can be taken to prevent job stress.
- Violence in the Workplace. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) (1997, June), 2 pages. This fact sheet provides basic information on workplace violence including risk factors and prevention strategies.
- Violence in the Workplace – Risk Factors and Prevention Strategies. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Current Intelligence Bulletin 57 (1996, July). The purpose of this document is to review what is known about fatal and nonfatal violence in the workplace to determine the focus needed for prevention and research efforts.
- Preventing Homicide in the Workplace. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 93-109 (1995, May), 7 pages. The purposes of this alert are to: identify high-risk occupations and workplaces, inform employers and workers about their risk, encourage employers and workers to evaluate risk factors in their workplaces and implement protective measures, and encourage researchers to gather more detailed information about occupational homicide and to develop and evaluate protective measures.
- Homicide in U.S. Workplaces: A Strategy for Prevention and Research. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 92-103 (1992, September), 435 KB PDF, 13 pages. This document is designed to serve as a foundation for the development of a national strategy for use in prioritizing research and targeting interventions to prevent work-related homicides.
Other Federal Agencies
- Violence in the Workplace 1993-99. U.S. Dept. of Justice (2001). Presents data for 1993 through 1999 from the National Crime Victimization Survey estimating the extent of workplace crime in the United States.
- New Directions from the Field: Victim’s Rights and Services for the 21st Century, Business Community. U.S. Dept. of Justice (1998, August), 145 KB PDF, 12 pages. Chapter 12 of the New Directions report on crime victims. This document deals with victims’ rights and services in the business environment. Contains a section on workplace violence and provides practical advice for the business community on assisting the victims of workplace violence.
- Dealing with Workplace Violence: A Guide for Agency Planners. U.S. Office of Personnel Management (1998, April). This handbook is the result of a cooperative effort of many federal agencies sharing their expertise in preventing and dealing with workplace violence. It is intended to assist those who are responsible for establishing workplace violence initiatives at their agencies. PDF version is available in two forms: as individual chapters, and as a single 1.78MB PDF file.
Private Sector (Universities/Professional Associations)
- Maintaining a Safe Workplace: Preventing and Responding to Disruptive, Threatening, or Violent Behavior. University of California – Davis (1999), 6 pages. Presents information designed to highlight stresses and risks in the work environment, to enhance workplace safety, and to reduce and prevent disruption and violence.
- Violence in the Workplace: A Resource Guide. Registered Nurses’ Association of Nova Scotia (RNANS) (1996, November), 255 KB PDF, 14 pages. This resource guide is intended to raise awareness among registered nurses of issues related to violence in the workplace.
- Breaking Point: Violence in the Workplace. Broderick, R. (1995, July). Update, A publication of the University of Minnesota, Vol. 22, No. 3, pp. 1-3. Relates a violent incident that occurred on a college campus, involving a disgruntled former employee. The article also discusses the incident in the general context of workplace violence.
- Federal Register – 61:4029-4067, Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements (1996, February 2), 78 pages.
- Standard Interpretations and Compliance Letters – Central repository for violence in the workplace materials (1994, June 28), 2 pages.
- Standard Interpretations and Compliance Letters – OSHA policy regarding violent employee behavior (1992, December), 2 pages.
- Workplace Violence – Health Care and Social Service Workers. OSHA Office of Training and Education. 47 color slides which provide an overview of the Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health Care and Social Service Workers.
- Workplace Violence – Late-Night Retail. OSHA Office of Training and Education. 30 color slides which provide an overview of the Recommendations for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs in Late-Night Retail Establishments.
- Tri-national Conference on Violence as a Workplace Risk. DOL, North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC) (2001, November 29-30), 30 pages. The purpose of the event was to raise awareness of the issue of psychological and physical violence in North American workplaces, and to provide practical solutions by sharing information, highlighting best practices and identifying successful methods of prevention.