CDC logoSafer Healthier People CDC HomeCDC SearchCDC Health Topics A-Z
NIOSH - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

NIOSH Safety and Health Topic:

Occupational Violence

Research on Occupational Violence and Homicide

Workplace Violence Initiative: Research and Implementation

This initiative which started in early 2002 is the result of a congressional appropriation of $2 million. Congress directed NIOSH “…to develop an intramural and extramural prevention research program that will target all aspects of workplace violence and to coordinate its efforts with the Departments of Justice and Labor.”

In terms of extramural research, five grants totaling approximately $1.8 million were funded in September 2002. The 2008 RFA grant recipients will be announced in the near future.

The intramural funding is being used in the following areas:

A Federal Interagency Task Force on Workplace Violence Research and Prevention has been developed and the inaugural meeting was held January 23, 2003. The Task Force was formed to provide a forum for Federal agencies to share information on workplace violence research and prevention efforts as well as opportunities for collaborative efforts. Several projects are being developed from partnerships established through the taskforce.

As part of the NIOSH Initiative’s outreach component, stakeholder meetings focused on four different areas of workplace violence(violence in health care settings, violence in retail trade, domestic violence in the workplace, and violence against law enforcement and security professions) were held in 2003 to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to share information about their organization; identify possible research gaps; and, identify opportunities for collaborative efforts.

During 2008, several intramural research efforts are being conducted by NIOSH’s Division of Safety Research including the following;

Community-Based Workplace Violence Intervention: The primary objective of the proposed project is to evaluate different approaches to increase business participation by retail establishments in and compliance to the Workplace Violence Prevention Program WVPP, which was effective in crime reduction in a Los Angeles study. This study is being conducted in Oxnard, CA with the Oxnard Police Department (OPD) and is an evolution of the OPD’s community-policing program that incorporates local business associations and local organization partnerships. A secondary objective of the proposed project is to evaluate the program’s effectiveness in reducing the incidence of robberies and violent crimes in businesses at high-risk of workplace violence. In addition to the OPD, partners on this project include the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the University of Iowa, and Pacific Protection Services, Inc.

NIOSH is recruiting participation of other community-policing cities into the study. The community-policing model and its sustainability is being studied as a model that may have the ability to function in many cities throughout the United States.

Taxicab Driver Violence Prevention: The purposes of this project are to: determine the circumstances of homicides of taxicab drivers and assess the effectiveness of NIOSH/OSHA recommended prevention guidelines; evaluate the effectiveness of state and local ordinances for taxicab safety equipment on prevention of taxicab driver homicides; and evaluate serial trends and explanations for trends in taxicab driver homicides. Currently, data from newspaper articles covering 700 taxicab driver homicides from 1992 through 2006 are being abstracted and compiled into a database. These data will be used to understand circumstances surrounding most homicides, such as time of day, location of assailant, number of assailants, driver characteristics, and safety characteristics present in taxicab. Furthermore, taxicab regulations/bylaw data are being gathered by city and will be used to compile a separate database that will allow for the evaluation of safety equipment present in taxicabs and their impact on taxicab driver homicide rates.

Pennsylvania Teacher/School Staff Workplace Violence Prevention: The primary goal of this project is to measure the prevalence, risk factors, and outcomes of workplace violence (WPV) in a cohort of Pennsylvania K-12 teachers and school staff. The secondary goal is to examine the association between nonfatal WPV injury rates and universal school-based violence prevention policies and programs. The long term goal of this project is to reduce injuries and negative psychological outcomes associated with WPV in the education field by developing, implementing, and evaluating targeted workplace violence prevention programs.

Veteran’s Health Administration Intervention: The primary goal of this research is to reduce patient violence against nurses on in-patient psychiatry units through implementation of an innovative treatment program—the Violence Prevention Community Meeting (VPCM). This research will further validate and extend the results of a pilot study which found a 50% reduction in patient violence (Pre-test/Post-test comparison) associated with a 9-week trial of the VPCM treatment intervention.

There is currently a need to design and validate low-cost violence prevention interventions that can be widely applied in in-patient psychiatry units treating large numbers of potentially assaultive patients during brief admissions. Demonstration of the effectiveness of the VPCM would provide a new, empirically validated treatment modality to reduce violence against nurses through promotion of a culture and practice of non-violence for nursing staff and patients alike. This project is a partnership between NIOSH’s Division of Safety Research and the Veterans’ Health Administration.

Survey of Work-Related Assaults Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) maintains a database of injuries treated in a nationally representative sample of U.S. hospital emergency departments (EDs) called the national Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). Data routinely collected through NEISS include a brief narrative description of the injury event and basic demographic information such as intent and mechanism of injury, work-relatedness, principal diagnosis, part of the body affected, location where the injury occurred, involvement of consumer products, and disposition at ED discharge. For assaults, summary data are also being collected in the relationship of the perpetrator to the injured person and the context (i.e., altercation, robbery, sexual assault, etc.). For work-related cases, occupation and industry information is collected.

The study consisted of a telephone interview survey of workers treated in NEISS hospital EDs for injuries sustained during a work-related assault. The data collection occurred over a 16 month period. The survey included an extended narrative description of the injury incident as well as items regarding general workplace organization; personal characteristics of the worker; work tasks at the time of the assault; training on workplace violence risk factors and prevention strategies; security measures in place and how they impacted the outcome of the incident; and return to work after the assault. This study will provide critical information for understanding the nature and impact of nonfatal assault among U.S. workers. In combination with data collected from other sources, this information will ultimately contribute to the prevention of violence in the workplace.

Employer-based Workplace Violence Prevention Survey

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has been conducting research on workplace violence risk factors and prevention strategies for a number of years using data from NIOSH sources, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, and others. The vast majority of the knowledge regarding workplace violence is based on information about worker victims of violent incidents, both fatal and nonfatal. Very little information exists regarding policies, training, and other related issues from an employer's perspective. The employers' perspective is a critical gap in the current workplace violence prevention effort.

To help fill this gap, The NIOSH and the BLS conducted a survey of U.S. workplaces to evaluate the employers' perspectives regarding policies, training, and other related issues on workplace violence prevention, including risk factors associated with workplace violence and prevention strategies. The findings of the survey will allow characterization of how the issue of workplace violence is being addressed in the United States workplaces and may be useful to identify where educational interventions are needed. Additionally, the information obtained through this survey will assist employers, decision makers, trade groups, unions, and government agencies in implementation of more comprehensive workplace violence prevention programs. Preliminary findings from the survey are reported in detail on the BLS website.

Page last updated: June 2, 2008
Page last reviewed: May 14, 2008
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Occupational Violence

Violence on the Job cover page

Topic Index:

Occupational Violence
    Research on Occupational
      Violence and Homicide

back  Occupational Violence