Workplace Violence Research Shows Increase in Homicides Committed by Work Associates

A new report “Violence in the Workplace” by the National Council on Compensation Insurance, Inc. (NCCI) shows that while work-related homicides and injuries due to workplace assaults remain well below levels observed in the mid-1990s, homicides committed by “work associates” – a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) category made up of both coworkers and customers – have increased. To view the complete report, visit: https://www.ncci.com/documents/Workplace_Research.pdf.

In the report, NCCI states that the “reality of workplace violence is markedly different from popular opinion” and that workplace homicides – which account for 11 percent of workplace fatalities in private industry – “are not crimes of passion committed by disgruntled coworkers and spouses, but rather result from robberies.” In addition, the majority of workplace assaults are committed by healthcare patients.  Key Findings of the report “Violence in the Workplace” include the following:

  • Work-related homicides and injuries due to workplace assaults remain well below levels observed in the mid-1990s, consistent with the patterns of declines in rates of homicide and aggravated assaults reported for the country. The rate of workplace homicides fell 59 percent from 1993 to 2009, while the overall rate of homicides fell 47 percent during the same period, according to NCCI.
  • Homicides account for 11 percent of workplace fatalities. Homicides due to robberies and similar criminal acts fell markedly over the late 1990s, but still make up 69 percent of all homicides.
  • Homicides committed by “work associates” – a BLS category made up of both coworkers and customers – have increased to about 21 percent, mostly reflecting an increase to 9 percent in violent acts by customers while the share of workplace homicides due to coworkers has remained steady at about 12 percent. The actual number of such homicides has been in the 50 to 60 range in recent years.
  • Healthcare workers experience remarkably high rates of injuries due to assaults by patients, especially in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. In fact, 61 percent of all workplace assaults are committed by healthcare patients.

The report from NCCI – a Boca Raton, FL- based company that manages the nation’s largest database of workers compensation insurance information – examines the many aspects of work-related homicides and injuries due to assaults, and extends a series of studies published by NCCI on workplace violence. To view the report “Violence in the Workplace,” visit: https://www.ncci.com/documents/Workplace_Research.pdf.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Fact Sheet on Workplace Violence available at http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/factsheet-workplace-violence.pdf describes workplace violence as “violence or the threat of violence against workers” that “can occur at or outside the workplace and can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide, one of the leading causes of job-related deaths.” OSHA estimates some 2 million American workers are victims of workplace violence each year and recently released a directive on “Enforcement Procedures for Investigating or Inspecting Incidents of Workplace Violence” available at http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_02-01-052.pdf.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) website has a “Dealing with Workplace Violence: A Guide for Agency Planners” page that features the following statement under the heading “Pre-employment Screening” at http://www.opm.gov/employment_and_benefits/worklife/officialdocuments/handbooksguides/WorkplaceViolence/p1-s3.asp#pre-emp:

Pre-employment screening is an important part of workplace violence prevention. Prior to hiring an employee, the agency should check with its servicing personnel office and legal office, if necessary, to determine what pre-employment screening techniques (such as interview questions, background and reference checks, and drug testing) are appropriate for the position under consideration and are consistent with Federal laws and regulations.

For more information about pre-employment screening, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check AuthoritySM’ and nationwide background screening firm accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – at http://www.esrcheck.com/ or call toll free 888.999.4474.

Sources:
https://www.ncci.com/nccimain/IndustryInformation/ResearchOutlook/Pages/NCCIResearch-ViolenceWorkplace.aspx.
https://www.ncci.com/documents/Workplace_Research.pdf.
http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/factsheet-workplace-violence.pdf
http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_02-01-052.pdf.
http://www.opm.gov/employment_and_benefits/worklife/officialdocuments/handbooksguides/WorkplaceViolence/p1-s3.asp#pre-emp.

About Employment Screening Resources (ESR):
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check AuthoritySM – provides accurate and actionable information, empowering employers to make informed safe hiring decisions for the benefit for our clients, their employees, and the public. ESR literally wrote the book on background screening with “The Safe Hiring Manual” by Founder and CEO Lester Rosen. ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by less than two percent of all screening firms. By choosing an accredited screening firm like ESR, employers know they have selected an agency that meets the highest industry standards. For more information about Employment Screening Resources (ESR), visit http://www.esrcheck.com/ or call 888.999.4474.

About ESR News:
The Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at tahearn@esrcheck.com.

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