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NIOSH Safety and Health Topic:

Occupational Violence

Teachers and Taxi Drivers
Visit the NIOSH Science Blog to read blog articles on violence against teachers and taxicab drivers. Share your comments and join the discussion.
An average of 1.7 million people were victims of violent crime while working or on duty in the United States, according to a report published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), each year from 1993 through 1999. An estimated 1.3 million (75%) of these incidents were simple assaults while an additional 19% were aggravated assaults. Of the occupations examined, police officers, corrections officers, and taxi drivers were victimized at the highest rates.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reported 11,613 workplace homicide victims between 1992 and 2006. Averaging just under 800 homicides per year, the largest number of homicides in one year (n=1080) occurred in 1994, while the lowest number (n=540) occurred in 2006.

As an integral part of a broad-based initiative to reduce the incidence of occupational violence in this country, NIOSH conducts, funds, and publishes research on risk factors and prevention strategies related to workplace violence. This site contains information on NIOSH research as well as links to external research programs, statistical reports, and public and private initiatives to address the problems of workplace violence.

NIOSH invites grant application for research to reduce the risk of injuries due to violence in the workplace. Areas of interest for the applications include reducing the risk of injuries due to workplace violence through the development and evaluation of new intervention strategies, the evaluation of existing interventions, and the adoption of these strategies in the workplace. Grants awarded under the 2002 RFA are listed in the NIOSH Update: Studies for Workplace Violence Prevention Funded Under Five New NIOSH Grant Awards (November 2002). Grants awarded under the 2008 RFA will appear in the near future.

NIOSH Research on Occupational Violence and Homicide


NIOSHTIC-2 search results on Workplace Violence
NIOSHTIC-2 is a searchable bibliographic database of occupational safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and journal articles supported in whole or in part by the NIOSH.

NIOSH Publications on Occupational Violence and Homicide

Workplace Violence Prevention Strategies and Research Needs
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2006-144 (September 2006)
This report summarizes discussions that took place during Partnering in Workplace Violence Prevention: Translating Research to Practice—a landmark conference held in Baltimore, Maryland, on November 15–17, 2004. The report does not include a documented review of either the literature on WPV in general or intervention effectiveness research in particular. In addition, the authors have consciously avoided adding the NIOSH perspective to this report or otherwise augmenting its content. We have preferred to represent as accurately as possible the information, ideas, and professional judgments that emerged from the discussions that took place at the Baltimore workshop.

Violence on the Job
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-100D (DVD)
A training and educational DVD from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provides employers, employees, safety professionals, and others with recommendations and resources for preventing work-related homicides and assaults. Violence on the Job discusses practical measures for identifying risk factors for violence at work, and taking strategic action to keep employees safe. It is based on extensive NIOSH research, supplemented with information from other authoritative sources.

Violence: Occupational Hazards in Hospitals
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2002-101 (April 2002)
En español
All hospitals should develop a comprehensive violence prevention program. No universal strategy exists to prevent violence. The risk factors vary from hospital to hospital and from unit to unit. Hospitals should form multidisciplinary committees that include direct-care staff as well as union representatives (if available) to identify risk factors in specific work scenarios and to develop strategies for reducing them. All hospital workers should be alert and cautious when interacting with patients and visitors. They should actively participate in safety training programs and be familiar with their employers' policies, procedures, and materials on violence prevention.

NIOSH Current Intelligence Bulletin #57: Violence in the Workplace: Risk Factors and Prevention Strategies
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 96-10 (July 1996)
This CIB reviews what is known about fatal and nonfatal violence in the workplace, defines research gaps, and recommends general approaches to workplace violence prevention. The document also summarizes issues that need to be addressed when dealing with workplace violence in various settings such as offices, factories, warehouses, hospitals, convenience stores, and taxicabs. No definitive strategy will ever be appropriate for preventing violence in all workplaces, but we must begin to change the way work is done in certain settings to minimize the risk to American workers. We must work together to address the research and prevention challenges posed by the complex issue of workplace violence. This document serves as the foundation for developing a comprehensive strategy for reducing violence in U.S. workplaces.

NIOSH Report Addresses Problem of Workplace Violence, Suggests Strategies for Preventing Risks
DHHS Press Release (July 1996)
This NIOSH report finds that workplace homicides increased in number in the 1990s after decreasing substantially in the 1980s. Homicide has surpassed machine-related injuries as the second most prevalent cause of death on the job, after motor vehicle accidents. The report finds that the taxicab industry has the highest risk of workplace homicides, nearly 60 times the national average rate. Workers in health care, community services, and retail settings are at greatest risk of non-fatal assaults.

NIOSH Alert: Preventing Homicide in the Workplace
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 93-109 (May 1995)
En español
The purposes of this Alert are to identify high-risk occupations and workplaces, inform employers and workers about their risk, encourage employers and workers to evaluate risk factors in their workplaces and implement protective measures, and encourage researchers to gather more detailed information about occupational homicide and to develop and evaluate protective measures.

Occupational Injury Deaths of Postal Workers -- United States, 1980-1989
MMWR 1994: 43(32): 587, 593-595
Extensive media coverage of work-related homicides at U.S. Postal Service facilities raised the concern about whether postal workers are at increased risk for work-related homicide, particularly from those committed by disgruntled coworkers. Based on national surveillance data, neither the Postal Service industry nor postal occupations are among the groups at increased risk for work-related homicide ( 1,2 ). To further assess this concern and to determine the relative magnitude of occupational injury deaths in the Postal Service, CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) used data from its National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) surveillance system* to examine occupational injury deaths in the Postal Service and compare Postal Service fatality rates with overall rates for all U.S. industries. This report summarizes the results of that analysis.

NIOSH Urges Immediate Action to Prevent Workplace Homicide
NIOSH Update (October 1993)
During one week, an owner of a pawn shop, a convenience store clerk, a psychologist, two sanitation managers, a tavern owner, a fisherman, a cook, two cab drivers, a co-owner of a furniture store, a restaurant manager, a maintenance supervisor, a video store owner, and a postal carrier were all victims of workplace homicide. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), an average of fifteen people are murdered at work each week in this country.

Homicide in U.S. Workplaces: A Strategy for Prevention and Research
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 92-103 (September 1992)
this document in PDF 435 KB (13 pages)
In July 1990, NIOSH convened a panel of experts in the field of interpersonal violence to review the NIOSH data to identify areas of concern and to make recommendations for future research. This document summarizes those discussions, which may serve as the foundation for the development of a national strategy for prioritizing research and targeting interventions to prevent work-related homicides. Workshop participants discussed 1) limitations of available data, 2) important research issues, 3) areas where future research is needed, and 4) evaluation of known prevention strategies.

Convenience Store Safety Poster
this document in PDF 35 KB (1 page)
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health conducted a study of 460 convenience store robberies in three metropolitan areas of Virginia. The purpose of this study was two-fold: 1) to evaluate the effect of environmental and organizational interventions on reducing the number of robberies; and 2) to evaluate the effect of these interventions on reducing injuries to employees during robberies. In this poster, risk factors for being robbed and/or injured are presented along with suggestions for what managers and employees can do to reduce their risk.

Related NIOSH Publications

Women's Safety and Health Issues at Work
Homicide is the leading cause of injury death for women in the workplace, accounting for 40% of all workplace death among female workers. Workplace homicides are primarily robbery-related, and often occur in grocery/convenience stores, eating and drinking establishments, and gasoline service stations. Over 25% of female victims of workplace homicide are assaulted by people they know (co-workers, customers, spouses, or friends). Domestic violence incidents that spill into the workplace account for 16% of female victims of job-related homicides.

Female workers are also at risk for nonfatal violence. Women were the victims in nearly two-thirds of the injuries resulting from workplace assaults. Most of these assaults (70%) were directed at women employed in service occupations, such as health care, while an additional 20% of these incidents occurred in retail locations, such as restaurants and grocery stores.

Working with Stress
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2003-114D (DVD), Publication No. 2003-114V (VHS)
(November 2002)
This DVD program describes workplace factors that can create or exacerbate worker stress, and suggests practical measures for reducing job-related stress through changes in work organization. Working with Stress is the first NIOSH training and educational video program on the topic of workplace stress. It is a companion program to the 1999 NIOSH document, "Stress ... At Work."

Fatal Injuries to Civilian Workers in the United States, 1980-1995: National and State Profiles
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2001-129S
These two documents include 16 years of data (1980-1995) from the National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) surveillance system. Statistics on over 93,000 deaths are provided by demographic and injury characteristics. These data may be used for developing prevention strategies by enabling researchers and practitioners in government, academia, industry, and labor to focus efforts on the leading causes of workplace injury death in the high-risk industries and occupations.

Worker Health Chartbook, 2004
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-146
The Worker Health Chartbook, 2004 is a descriptive epidemiologic reference on occupational morbidity and mortality in the United States. A resource for agencies, organizations, employers, researchers, workers, and others who need to know about occupational injuries and illnesses, the Chartbook includes more than 400 figures and tables describing the magnitude, distribution, and trends of the Nation’s occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.

Worker Health Chartbook, 2000
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2000-127
This document presents national and state occupational health data and statistics, graphically describing the burden of our Nation's occupational injuries and illnesses. More than 40 scientists from federal and state agencies collaborated to present health surveillance information in the Chartbook's 172 charts and data tables. The Chartbook has a descriptive focus, presenting data and charts that characterize types of injuries and illnesses by gender, race, industry, and occupation. The Chartbook also provides comprehensive reference materials, including appendices describing the 18 surveillance and statistical systems, and the industry and occupation classification systems.

Identifying High-Risk Small Business Industries: The Basis for Preventing Occupational Injury, Illness, and Fatality
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 99-107 (May 1999)
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has prepared this report to characterize the risk of occupational injury, illness, and fatality in industries composed mostly of small business establishments. Identifying these risks will provide essential information to practitioners in occupational safety and health, the small business community (owners, managers, and employees), labor officials, trade associations, insurers, product suppliers, local and State agencies, and others involved with small business. This document will be of special interest to researchers in occupational safety and health as a first step toward identifying the underlying causes of injuries and illnesses in small business industries and designing effective and appropriate prevention strategies for a hard-to-reach target audience.

Stress...At Work (1999)
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 99-101
This booklet highlights knowledge about the causes of stress at work and outlines steps that can be taken to prevent job stress.

United States Government Occupational Violence Links

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Homicide Data Links:

Table A-2. Fatal occupational injuries resulting from transportation incidents and homicides, All United States, 2006
External link:

Table A-6. Fatal occupational injuries resulting from transportation incidents and homicides by occupation, All United States, 2006
External link:

The following BLS link allows the user to select various categories; e.g., occupations, demographic information, and homicides, etc:

Public Data Query of Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) data
External link:

Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States (NCIPC)
Recognizing the need to better measure both the scope of the problem of intimate partner violence (IPV) as well as resulting economic costs-in particular, those related to health care-Congress funded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control to conduct a study to obtain national estimates of the occurrence of IPV-related injuries, to estimate their costs to the health care system, and to recommend strategies to prevent IPV and its consequences.

Dealing with Workplace Violence: A Guide for Agency Planners
February 1998 OPM (OWR), Publication No. OWR-09
External link:
This handbook, developed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Interagency Working Group on Violence in the Workplace, is the result of a cooperative effort of many Federal agencies sharing their expertise in preventing and dealing with workplace violence. It is intended to assist those who are responsible for establishing workplace violence initiatives at their agencies. However, we anticipate that its usefulness will extend well beyond the planning phase since many of the chapters provide information that can be helpful for managers and specialists as they deal with difficult workplace violence situations.

Handling Traumatic Events: A Manager's Guide
External link:

National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Psychological First Aid Manual
External link:
The Psychological First Aid Field Operations Guide (early release for Hurricane Katrina response) was created by the Terrorism Disaster Branch of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the National Center for PTSD as well as others involved in disaster response. Production of this information was supported by SAMHSA.

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Workplace Violence
External link:
Workplace violence has emerged as an important safety and health issue in today's workplace. Its most extreme form, homicide, is the third-leading cause of fatal occupational injury in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), there were 674 workplace homicides in 2000, accounting for 11% of the total 5,915 fatal work injuries in the United States. Environmental conditions associated with workplace assaults have been identified and control strategies implemented in a number of work settings. OSHA has developed guidelines and recommendations to reduce worker exposures to this hazard but is not initiating rulemaking at this time.

Responding to Domestic Violence: Where Federal Employees Can Find Help
External link:

Violence in the Workplace: 1993-1999
this document in PDF 155 KB (12 pages)
External link:
A Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) Special Report based on the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). The report focuses on nonfatal violence in the workplace, including rape and sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault. The NCVS data are supplemented by data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System is an interactive database system that provides customized reports of injury-related data.

Violence in the Workplace: Preventing It; Managing It
External link:
On March 1, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a monograph entitled
Workplace Violence: Issues in Response. this document in PDF 6,227 KB (80 pages)
External link:
The monograph resulted from a June 2002 symposium hosted by the FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime entitled “Violence in the Workplace.” Representatives from NIOSH, other law enforcement organizations, private industry, government, law, labor, professional organizations, victim services, academic, and mental health agencies joined the FBI to share their expertise on this important issue.

The Work-Related Injury Statistics Query System provides a web-based public access query system for obtaining national estimates (number of cases) and rates (number of cases per hours worked) for nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments. Users may interactively query based on demographic characteristics, nature of injury/illness, and incident circumstances for the years 1998 and 1999.

Other Workplace Violence Related Links

NIOSH Science Blog: Preventing Violence Against Taxicab Drivers

Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence
External link:
The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the costs and consequences of partner violence at work - and eliminating it altogether. From policies and programs to legal issues and legislation, CAEPV is a credible source for information, materials and advice.

Family Violence Prevention Fund
External link:
Domestic violence doesn't stay home when its victims go to work. It can follow them, resulting in violence in the workplace. Or it can spill over into the workplace when a woman is harassed by threatening phone calls, absent because of injuries or less productive from extreme stress. Domestic violence in the workplace includes all types of behavior that affect a person's ability to perform a job. With one out of every four American women reporting physical abuse by an intimate partner at some point in their lives, it is a certainty that in any mid-to-large sized company, domestic violence is affecting employees.

Workplace Violence: A Report to the Nation
this document in PDF 331 KB (16 pages)
External link:
A summary of the problem of workplace violence and the recommendations developed by participants at the Workplace Violence Intervention Research Workshop held in Washington, DC in April 2000. The Workshop was sponsored by the University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center.

Workplace Violence References

Trends in Workplace Homicides in the U.S., 1993-2002: A Decade of Decline. Hendricks, Scott A., et al. (2007), American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 50: 316-325.

Societal Cost of Workplace Homicides in the United States, 1992-2001. Hartley, Daniel, et al. (2005), American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Vol. 47, pp. 518-527.

Legislation and Regulations Addressing Workplace Violence in the United States and British Columbia. Barish, Robert. (2001), American Journal of Preventative Medicine, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 149-154.

Workplace Violence Intervention Research Workshop. Merchant, James and John Lundell. (2001), American Journal of Preventative Medicine, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 135-140.

The Role of Surveillance and Evaluation Research in the Reduction of Violence Against Workers. Peek-Asa, Corinne, et al. (2001), American Journal of Preventative Medicine, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 141-148.

Labor Perspective of Workplace Violence Prevention. Rosen, Jonathan. (2001), American Journal of Preventative Medicine, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 161-168.

Moving Forward with Research on the Prevention of Violence Against Workers. Runyan, Carol. (2001), American Journal of Preventative Medicine, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 169-172.

Violence Prevention at Work: A Business Perspective. Wilkinson, Carol. (2001), American Journal of Preventative Medicine, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 155-160.

A Matched Case-Control Study of Convenience Store Robbery Risk Factors. Hendricks, Scott, et al. (November 1999), Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 41, No. 11, pp. 995-1004.

Convenience Store Robberies in Selected Metropolitan Areas. Amandus, H.E., et al. (May 1997), Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 39, No. 5, pp. 442-447.

Employee Injuries and Convenience Store Robberies in Selected Metropolitan Areas. Amandus, H.E., et al. (July 1996), Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 38, No. 7, pp. 714-720.

Reevaluation of the Effectiveness of Environmental Designs to Reduce Robbery Risk in Florida Convenience Stores. Amandus, H.E., et al. (June 1995), Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 37, No. 6, pp. 711-717.

Workplace Related Homicide Among Health Care Workers in the United States, 1980 Through 1990. Goodman, Richard, E. Lynn Jenkins, and James A. Mercy. (December 7, 1994), Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 272, No. 21, pp. 1686-1688.

Occupational Injury Deaths of Postal Workers - United States, 1980 - 1989. CDC/NIOSH. (August 19, 1994), MMWR, Vol. 43, No. 32, pp. 587, 593-595.

Page last updated: June 16, 2008
Page last reviewed: May 14, 2008
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Occupational Violence

Violence on the Job - image of shattered glass

Topic Index:

Occupational Violence
   • Research on Occupational
     Violence and Homicide

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