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.

Recognition and Control

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)/Federal OSHA

State OSHA

  • 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)



Conference Proceedings

  • 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.

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