When you hear of employees who died at work, often it's a tragic mishap like an explosion, fire or other industrial-type fatality that claims their lives. But another deadly on-the-job hazard is workplace violence.
Statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries indicate that in 2014, there were 4,679 fatalities in the workplace. Of that total, 403 were homicides. On-the-job murder is number four on the list of fatal occupational injuries in America.
The media rushes to report on stories of mass shootings in the workplace, but the reality is that most deaths and injuries from workplace violence are far more mundane. Every year, almost two million workers in the United States report being victimized by violent acts in their workplace; still more events remain unreported.
There are certain risk factors that raise the likelihood of being harmed by violence at work. They include:
-- Working with unstable or violent coworkers
-- Working on one's own in an isolated location
-- Accepting money from customers
-- Working around people drinking alcohol, such as bartenders or servers
-- Providing certain types of services to customers
The hours you work can increase your risk of being a victim, also. Those working the graveyard shift are more at risk than those working a 9 to 5 job. If your job takes you into high crime areas, you also have an enhanced risk of harm.
Those working in the following positions all have a higher than normal risk of becoming a victim of workplace violence:
-- Health care professionals
-- Law enforcement
-- Public servants
-- Customer service agents
-- Delivery drivers
Employers have the duty to protect their workers from acts of violence while they are on the job. Those that fail to have adequate safeguards in place can be held legally liable for the workers' injuries and deaths due to violence in the workplace.
Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration, "Workplace Violence," accessed April 08, 2016