Workplace violence is an ongoing issue that continues to affect the United States especially. It isn’t a new issue, but is one that continues to haunt the general public. Why? Because people are dying at work because of violence that occurs.
In 2013, there were 397 fatal workplace injuries that were ruled to be homicides.
Dramatic stories of beheadings, multiple shootings, and other acts of violence make the news and create fear. When homicide is the fourth leading cause of a workplace death, that fear is justified. For women it is even worse: homicide is the second leading cause of death that happens at work.
- 2 million. That’s the number of American workers who will experience at least one incident of workplace violence in the next 2 months.
- 80% of the workplace violence deaths that occur are caused by offenders who are using guns.
- 28% of the incidents of workplace violence that happen to women come from a relative or direct personal acquaintance.
- Nearly half of all workplace violence incidents happen in public settings.
- In the private sector, 88% of the most violent incidents in the workplace occur in service-related fields.
- Being a taxi driver increases the risk of becoming the target of workplace violence by 20x when compared to the general working population.
- The percentage of work-related shootings that happen in the private sector: 86%.
- The rates of workplace violence are higher for government employees.
We’ve been paying more attention to workplace violence in general because the incidents are becoming more grisly and more innocent bystanders are being affected. In 2008, for example, there were 30 incidents of workplace violence that included multiple homicides. Considering the fact that one-third of American women will be abused by their husband or significant other at least once in their lives, this is an issue that cannot be put on the back burner any longer. Far too many people are being hurt because of inaction.
Do Employers Even Care About Workplace Violence?
- 43%. That’s the percentage of corporate executives who believe that workplace violence isn’t an issue that needs to be addressed.
- 67% of corporate executives do not believe that workplace violence will create a negative impact on their budgets.
- 4 out of 10 supervisors are aware of at least one employee who is suffering from ongoing domestic violence issues.
- The cost of lost productivity because of domestic violence that spills into the workplace: $727 million.
- More than 29,000 acts of rape or sexual assault are perpetrated against women at work each year.
- 250,000 women will miss at least one day of work in the next year because of someone stalking them.
- Only 40% of the crimes committed against women while they were at work in a study of incidents between 1993-1999 were reported to law enforcement officials.
It is difficult to work on solving a problem when companies don’t even see it as a problem. Although a majority of employers do see workplace violence as an issue that needs to be addressed, it isn’t an overwhelming majority. There is a 4 in 10 chance that someone will work for an employer that has no policies or procedures regarding workplace violence. More than $4 billion is spent every year because of intimate partner violence for healthcare expenses. Employers lose. Employees lose. That should be enough to address the issue, shouldn’t it?
What Do We Need to Address to Solve Workplace Violence?
- The fastest growing category of workplace homicides are those that are committed by customers.
- Suicides at work reached an all-time high in 2011 with 270 recorded incidents.
- 47% of assailants are in the 35-54 age demographic.
- The percentage of homicides that occur at work because of a robber or similar criminal act: 69%.
- Co-worker homicides have increased to be 21% of the total incidents.
- 27% of businesses have experienced at least one incident of workplace violence within the last 5 years. In 2005, that percentage was just 5%.
- The estimated cost of a workplace homicide to the employer is $800,000.
- It is 100x more costly to react to workplace violence than to work on preventing it from occurring.
Workplace violence will continue to haunt businesses unless they are willing to take action. If employees know what to do and have clear policies and procedures to follow, then they can protect themselves and ultimately be more productive. Hundreds of thousands of hours are lost every year, many of them paid in sick or vacation time, because of violence that happens at work. If nothing else, there should be motivation to stop violence just because it is so expensive.