Each year, millions of American workers report violence at the workplace. In 2018 alone, such incidents resulted in 20,790 injuries and 453 fatalities. Some industries, like healthcare, service provision, and education, are more prone to violent acts than others.
It gets worse:
The stats get harrowing when you realize that they are underreported. Many businesses fail to report cases because they are a liability.
And it doesn’t end there:
The underreporting creates a misleading image. Even the workplace violence statistics by industry are not very accurate. Because they fail to acknowledge the issue, businesses end up failing in their job to protect their employees.
Before we dig deep into these stats, here are some of the most significant facts about workplace violence.
Alarming Facts about Workplace Violence Incidents
- Almost 75% of workplace assaults occur in a healthcare setting.
- According to workplace shooting statistics, there were 154 shootings with injury inside or on the grounds of American hospitals.
- Every year, almost two million US workers are victims of violence in the workplace.
- A quarter of a million women will miss work at least one day in a year because of stalkers.
- Only about 40% of crimes committed against women at work are reported.
- 67% of corporate executives don’t think workplace violence will create a negative impact on their budgets.
- Between 2003 and 2013, there were 8,987 workplace homicides.
- 27% of all violent events in the workplace are tied to domestic violence.
General Workplace Conflict Statistics
1. Healthcare is one of the most dangerous professions in terms of workplace violence.
Worryingly, healthcare workers are nearly four times as likely to require time off from work as a result of violence. Occupational hazards like back injuries, needle stick injury, and exposure to body and blood fluids are among the other reasons.
2. Almost 75% of workplace assaults occur in a healthcare setting.
Employees in healthcare and social work account for only 12.2% of the working population, and other industries also underreport. Even so, three-quarters of incidents occur in healthcare settings.
3. Patients have attacked 80 % of emergency medical services personnel.
Every year, more than one EMS professional in the United States is violently killed on duty.
Every year, over 2,000 EMS professionals are injured in violent acts.
4. Workplace homicide is the second leading cause of workplace death for home healthcare workers.
Safety measures must be implemented and training programs conducted to make sure that healthcare workers can protect themselves in the event something like this happens.
5. According to workplace shooting statistics, there were 154 shootings with injury on US hospital grounds.
It just so happens that sometimes a criminal may be transported into a hospital without proper checks. The 154 shootings were documented between 2000 and 2011. Safety measures have increased to ensure this does not happen again.
6. An FBI workplace violence study published only four workplace shootings for 2018-2019.
The reason for this is that many of them took place on hospital grounds. Additionally, shootings that took place in an Emergency Department or ward were because the shooter removed the firearm from a security guard or law enforcement. This creates a misleading picture.
7. According to the 2018-2019 Workplace Safety and Preparedness Report, 30% of respondents say they were not aware of their employers’ Emergency Preparedness Plans.
Are employers dropping the ball? The plans exist to deal with crises like employee violence, but they are never/rarely tested.
8. Every year, almost two million US workers become victims of workplace violence incidents.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries report, homicide is responsible for 10% of all fatal workplace injuries. The numbers become astronomical when you think about all the cases that do not get reported.
Do you know what's even more disturbing, though?
9. Workplace violence cases are the leading cause of death for women on the job.
The rate at which women are getting murdered at work is alarming. Compared to men, they are three times more likely to get killed on the job. Homicides account for 22% of all female workplace deaths between 2011 and 2017. For men, it’s just 8%.
And that’s not the end of it:
10. 30,000 rapes and sexual assaults happen to women at work every year.
This statistic is horrifying, given that there is a massive chance that the cases are underreported or swept under the rug to protect companies’ reputation. A report by UN Women on recent workplace violence says 35% of women worldwide have experienced physical and sexual violence from both strangers and partners.
It doesn’t stop there, either:
11. A quarter of a million women will miss work at least once a year because of stalkers.
When potential sexual predators hound you, it becomes harder to focus on anything.
The thing about these cases is:
A significant percentage are not reported, especially when the victims are women.
Want to know how the numbers boil down?
12. Only about 40% of crimes committed against women at work are reported, workplace violence statistics by year reveal.
Usually, it’s about fear. Unfortunately, women still hold a sort of underdog position in the workplace.
Sure, some places may be enlightened, but the fact remains that women are victimized for even reporting workplace violence cases. Most of the time, you won’t even know what’s happening.
Do employees care?
13. 67% of corporate executives don’t think workplace violence will create a negative impact on their budgets.
And why would they?
Let’s face it:
Most of the cases are not reported. And the ones that are usually go nowhere because the employers would like it to stay that way. Wrongful termination can happen if someone decided to talk about what happened to them.
14. Workplace violence statistics by year indicate that more than $4 billion is spent on healthcare because of partner violence.
Domestic violence in the workplace statistics reveal that Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), is a severe issue that affects many women. 41.5% of all IPV-related assaults led to physical injury, and 28.1% led to medical treatment. Approximately 28% of those who experienced assault, rape, and stalking received some form of mental health counseling.
15. 47% of workplace violence perpetrators are aged 35-54.
The average age of the spouse murder victims is 41.
Compare that to the percentage of homicides that happen at work because of a robbery or criminal act of a similar nature - 69%.
Over time, co-worker homicides have increased to 21% of total incidents.
16. US businesses lose $36 billion a year to workplace violence.
We’re talking about non-fatal injuries here. According to workplace statistics by year, violence has decreased over time by 51% between 1993 and 2009. Still, even with such a massive decrease, 2013 witnessed 397 homicides.
So, how do all the fatalities break down in relation to cause?
17. Between 2003 and 2013, there were 8,987 homicides in the workplace.
According to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these homicides break down like this:
- 51% shooting
- 28.3% suicides
- 5.6% stabbing
- 4.5% animal attacks
- 4% beating
Some of these are horrifying. Getting beaten to death, especially, is a gruesome way to go.
Which jobs have the highest murder numbers?
18. According to statistics on workplace violence, taxi drivers are most likely to get murdered.
Additionally, becoming a murder statistic is especially easy if you’re a police officer, retail sales worker, security guard, cashier, or restaurant employee. You’re more likely to get killed if you’re in a line of work that involves meeting strangers often and in person, whether it is intentional or not.
19. According to workplace conflict statistics, older workers are most likely to get killed.
Workers 65 and over suffer more than two homicides per million hours worked in a year.
Older workers have the highest death rate on the job with 8.8 deaths per full-time equivalent worker. That’s more than twice the rate of any other age group. The murder rate of 45 to 54-year-olds is only 1.6 for the same amount of time.
20. 80% of those responsible for workplace deaths have nothing to do with the workplace at all, workplace violence statistics reveal.
Yes, now and then a postal worker goes berserk and takes out several people.
However, most of the deaths in many jobs are not because of the people in that workplace. It’s usually someone with a gun trying to commit a robbery. And when something goes wrong, they open fire.
That aside, how often does personal life have an impact?
21. 27% of all violent workplace events are tied to domestic violence.
Women are usually the target of these attacks. 42% of the women killed at work died at the hand of a family member or domestic partner. Compare that to the 2% of male victims who are killed in the same fashion.
Even more upsetting is the fact that women were the victims of 77% of all non-lethal assaults in the workplace.
22. Almost 80% of fatal cases involve guns in some way.
Except for robberies or mass shootings with no explanation, the motive here is mental instability or just the perpetrator’s life spiraling out of control. They got fired, so they make it your problem. Grievances, real and imagined, are the reason behind most of the workplace shootings statistics.
Other times, it’s an estranged spouse who comes to work to kill for revenge.
23. It’s 100x more costly to react to workplace violence than to prevent it.
You'd think that this would be an incentive for companies to try to protect their employees from something like this. But as we learned earlier, most can’t be bothered.
So, hundreds of thousands of hours are lost. As a business, taking steps to reduce this impact could work in your favor.
24. According to workplace shootings statistics, 24% take place in the retail trade industry.
So, where do people resort to guns the most?
Working in retail is clearly dangerous, as are the following sectors according to workplace violence statistics by industry:
- 17% leisure and hospitality
- 14% government
- 11% transportation
- 10% professional financial activities and business services
- 10% other services/not reported
25. 43% of co-worker violence is committed by current employees, according to recent workplace violence statistics.
While there are numerous examples of disgruntled and recently fired employees shooting their colleagues, these events are far more likely to be the work of a current employee than one who was terminated.
So, workplace violence statistics are grim.
What do we do about it? Is there a solution in sight?
At the moment, all we can do is prevent workplace violence by instituting a zero-tolerance policy for all workplace threats and violence.
Offering protection and other legal help to workers who may be facing threats could also reduce the number of women who get killed by stalkers, spouses, and mentally unstable predators.
Running through the procedures for safety and crises will often help people know how to react in the middle of violent events or even before they happen.