Posted July 22, 2022

BLS Releases Results of Long-Range Study on Workplace Violence

On average, 1.3 million nonfatal violent crimes in the workplace occurred annually.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have released Indicators of Workplace Violence, 2019, which provides findings on fatal and nonfatal crimes that occurred in the workplace or away from work but over work-related issues. Findings are presented for 13 indicators of workplace violence, using data from five federal data collections.

The study found that, over a 27-year period from 1992 to 2019, nearly 18,000 people were killed at work, on duty, or in violence that was work-related, using data from the BLS Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.

Homicides in the workplace peaked at 1,080 homicides in 1994 and dropped to 454 in 2019, a decline of 58%. During a more recent period from 2014 (409 homicides) to 2019, workplace homicides increased 11%.

According to the study, an annual average of 1.3 million nonfatal workplace violent victimizations occurred during the combined 5 years from 2015 to 2019, based on data from BJS’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).

Violent victimizations include rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and simple assault. This was a rate of 8.0 nonfatal violent crimes per 1,000 workers age 16 or older. Persons in corrections occupations had the highest average annual rate of nonfatal workplace violence at 149.1 per 1,000 workers among all occupations measured.

In other findings based on the NCVS, strangers committed about half (47%) of nonfatal workplace violence during 201519, with male victims less likely than female victims to know the offender.

The offender was unarmed in 78% of nonfatal workplace violence, and the victim sustained an injury in 12%. Fifteen percent of victims of nonfatal workplace violence reported severe emotional distress due to the crime.

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