Workplace Violence Statistics in the Heat of the Pandemic

Since the start of the pandemic, we have been approaching our work and communicating with our colleagues in new ways. Still, workplace violence statistics don’t seem to have changed much.

It is still hard to put all the puzzle pieces together when it comes to 2020 statistics. The pandemic still lasts, and we have no idea when it will end.

Thus, let’s look at the information available so far and see how to raise workplace violence awareness in our communities.

Top 7 Workplace Violence Stats (Editor’s Choice)

  • Four types of workplace violence exist
  • More than 2 million U.S. employees experience workplace violence annually
  • 27% of all violent workplace events are connected to domestic violence
  • 85% of workplace homicides include firearms
  • Men are more often victims of homicide in the workplace than women
  • 80% of teachers reported being victimized in the workplace in the last two years
  • 76% of all registered nurses stated to have experienced workplace violence

Most Common Types of Workplace Violence

As defined by the U.S. Department of Labor, workplace violence includes ‘any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the worksite.’

1. Four different types of workplace violence exist.

(AlertMedia)

The term ‘violence at work’ implies a couple of different categories. Namely, there are four unique varieties of workplace violence generally defined on the basis of previous incidents and history of workplace violence.

For example, the perpetrator might not have any connections to the workplace or the employees. Also, he could be in touch with the workplace and the workers. Another type includes a former or current employee showing violent behavior.

The perpetrator can also have a personal relationship with employees and none with the workplace (women are mostly victims of the last type of workplace violence).

2.The most dangerous U.S. states to work in are Michigan, Montana, and Indiana.

(Rave Mobile Safety)

Workplace injury statistics by state have revealed the most dangerous U.S. countries. Even though states like California, Florida, Texas, and New York have recorded many workplace assaults, they aren’t the most hazardous to work (these states also have the highest number of employees).

If we compare the percentage of the working population to the rate of fatal assaults in the workplace, Michigan is the most dangerous state to work in, with 41 deadly assaults in 2019; Montana is second, with 31 assaults, and Indiana third, with 28 recorded cases.

Workplace Violence Statistics 2020

In 2020, most workers were working from home, so the conditions were different. Still, the rate of bullied workers didn’t seem to drop last year.

3. More than 2 million U.S. employees experience workplace violence annually.

(shrm.org)

Unfortunately, these numbers are somewhat vague because many victims don’t talk about the assaults for various reasons. In 2017, 800 people died due to workplace violence, while the workplace harassment statistics show that 18 000 people suffered nonfatal injuries and similar problems.

4. A person dies approximately every hour and a half from a work-related injury.

(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

In 2019, an employee died every 99 minutes as a result of a work-related injury. That year was the worst in the last decade (from 2009 to 2019) regarding workplace death statistics, with 5 333 deceased employees in the U.S. only.

The worst year sincer 1992 was 1995, with more than 6 600 fatal work injuries. In conclusion, there were 3.5 fatalities per 100 000 full-time employees in 2019.

5. 24% of employees are aware of previous workplace violence incidents.

(shrm.org)

Almost a fourth of all workers are aware of previous violent incidents in their company, as recent workplace violence statistics suggest. While more than half of the questioned employees (57%, to be accurate) answered they were unaware of any violence at their work, 14% reported at least one case in the previous year.

6. 12% of employees state that they feel unsafe at work.

(shrm.org)

Simultaneously, 2% of questioned employees expressed feeling ‘very unsafe’ at their workplace. This means almost every seventh worker doesn’t feel safe at work, as workplace violence stats indicate. In other words, if we assume that a working area consists of 10 employees, for example, that means every active group of employees has at least one employee that feels threatened and at risk at their workplace.

7. 78% of all workplace violence happens to Caucasian people.

(NCVRW Resource Guide – Workplace Violence)

Reportedly, 78% of known workplace victimization happened to Caucasian people, 9% to Black or African-American employees, while 8% of recorded cases to Hispanic or Latino workers.

Workplace Violence Statistics and Domestic Violence

8. 27% of all violent workplace events are connected to domestic violence.

(Alice Training)

Up to 27% of all violent workplace incidents are somehow connected to domestic violence. Also, almost 80% of all recorded cases have nothing to do with the workplace but rather with a particular employee with whom the perpetrator has a personal connection, as the workplace conflict statistics indicate.

9. Only 20% of U.S. companies offer training on domestic violence.

(shrm.org)

This number comes off as even smaller and less significant if we know that 19% of all surveyed companies reported violence cases at the workplace directly connected with domestic abuse in the past twelve months. Additionally, 16% stated to have had a similar incident in the past five years.

Workplace Homicide Statistics

10. In 2018, 108 police officers were fatally injured at the workplace.

(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Out of almost 688 000 employed officers that year, more than a hundred police (and sheriff’s patrol) officers were lethally injured. While most police officers’ fatal accidents happened due to violence or transportation incidents, nearly half of them (53 cases, to be precise) were caused by gunshot wounds, as violence in the workplace statistics has shown.

11. In 2017, 346 cases of mass shootings at the workplace occurred in the U.S.

(What to Become)

The number has been on a rapid rise in the last decade. Let’s compare the period from 2008 to 2017 to the past decade. From 2008 to 2017, there has been an increase of 2.4 more mass shootings at the workplace than in the period from 1998 to 2007, as workplace violence statistics by year have indicated.

12. 85% of workplace homicides include firearms.

(NCVRW Resource Guide – Workplace Violence)

This number is quite devastating, but the good news is that the rate of workplace violence related to firearms has dropped significantly since 1995. The number of homicidal violent incidents with guns has dropped by more than a half in twenty years, from 762 registered cases in 1995 to 354 in 2015.

13. Men are more often victims of homicide in the workplace than women.

(NCVRW Resource Guide – Workplace Violence)

According to the available workplace death statistics in 2015, 61 homicidal incidents involved female victims, while 356 homicidal fatalities included men.

Still, 43% of lethally injured women not only had known the attacker, but he was a domestic partner or a relative (here, we see the connection between domestic and workplace violence again). On the other hand, this was the case only in 2% of male homicide cases.

Violence in the Workplace Statistics by Industry

14. Law enforcement officers suffer the highest rate of nonfatal workplace violence.

(NCVRW Resource Guide – Workplace Violence)

Mental health workers come second, while transportation employees come third when the nonfatal workplace violence rate is in question.

15. 80% of teachers reported being victimized in the workplace in the last two years.

(Rave Mobile Safety)

Even though often overseen and neglected, violent behavior towards teachers is widespread. Not only did most of the teachers report victimization, but 44% of them precisely stated having been physically attacked, as well.

Workplace Violence Statistics in Healthcare

16. One in every five cases of workplace injuries happens in the private health care industry.

(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

In 2019, almost 600 000 cases of nonfatal injuries and illnesses happened in the health care and social assistance industry, more than in any private sector. Manufacturing industries take second place, with more than 420 000 reported cases in 2019, as national workplace violence statistics revealed. Retail trade is close by, with almost 400 000 recorded cases. The same year, 2.8 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses happened in the private industry in general.

17. The rate of nonfatal violence to healthcare workers is on a steep increase.

(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

The number of nonfatal violence incidents towards health care workers has been on a sharp increase from 2011 (6.4 incidents per 10 000 full-time employees) to 2018 (10.4 per 10 000), judging by the workplace bullying statistics.

18. 76% of all registered nurses stated to have experienced workplace violence.

(Becker Hospital Review)

Unfortunately, a study conducted in 2019 reveals that only 20%-60% of all nurses decide to report workplace violence, no matter whether physical or verbal, even though most of them have gone through a violent workplace experience at least once.

19. Most states adopted enhanced penalties for violence against healthcare workers.

(The New England Journal of Medicine)

Workplace safety statistics affirm that 37 U.S. states have adopted protective laws for nurses and other healthcare workers concerning workplace violence. Expectedly, the content of these laws varies from state to state. Still, only three states have no enhanced penalties in any form (Montana, South Carolina, and Wyoming), while the other ten states adopted protection laws only for the first responders and EMS workers.

Conclusion

It seems like even though COVID-19 pandemics have changed the way we work and interact with our employers, not much has changed when it comes to workplace violence statistics.

The same industries have been in greatest danger as before—law enforcement, transportation, and (now even more) health care workers. Still, there is always the other side of the coin.

For example, the number of workplace incidents that include firearms has decreased in the last two decades.

In the end, the most important goal for every company should be to raise awareness of workplace violence and offer comfort and support to the workers affected by it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Many People are Killed Annually in Incidents of Workplace Homicides?

A study revealed that in 2017, there were 800 recorded cases of fatalities resulting from workplace violence. The same year, 18 000 workers have lived through injuries that weren’t fatal. In general, the experts estimate that around 2 million people in the U.S. suffer from this type of violence every year (the numbers are hypothetical because the available data is somewhat inaccurate due to a high number of unreported cases).

How Common Is Workplace Violence?

It depends on the industry. For example, it is the most common in law enforcement and health care industries. Some numbers in these industries come off as more than alarming. For instance, up to 76% of all registered nurses reported having been victims of workplace violence at least once in their working life. Also, 80% of teachers state that they had been victimized at their workplace as well.

How Many Workplace Violence Incidents Were There in 2020?

There aren’t any exact numbers for 2020 so far, but there is accurate information about the previous years. For example, each year, there are approximately 2 million workplace violence cases in the U.S. only (both reported and non-reported). The year 2019 was the worst for death cases caused by workplace violence (more than 5 500 workers were fatally injured that year).

Which Occupation Has the Highest Rate of Workplace Violence?

Law enforcement officers take the first place when it comes to workplace violence. For example, in 2018, 108 workers from this industry suffered fatal injuries at their workplace. Still, other sectors are at high risk, as well. Health care workers (especially the ones working in the private sector) suffer from nonfatal violence. Also, transportation workers are at higher risk.

What Percentage of Workplace Violence Is Tied to Domestic Violence?

Even though the connection between these two types of violent behavior is often neglected, studies have shown that many victims who suffered workplace violence also suffered domestic violence. More than fourth of the registered cases (27% to be precise) suffered both types of violence. The victims, mostly women, in most cases of female harassment knew the perpetrator, as the workplace violence statistics indicate.

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