According to the revised numbers reflecting updates to the 2010 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the final count of fatal work injuries in the United States in 2010 was 4,690, up from the preliminary count of 4,547, with 518 of those deaths, up from 506, caused by workplace homicides. These figures mean approximately 11 percent of workplace deaths – more than one out of ten – were attributed to homicide. The revised 2010 CFOI of April 2012 for the preliminary results in August 2011 is available at: http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfoi_revised10.pdf.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines “workplace violence” as any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site and can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide. OSHA estimates nearly 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year. However, many cases of workplace violence go unreported. To learn more, visit: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/index.html.
Revisions and additions to the 2010 CFOI counts result from the identification of new cases and the revision of existing cases based on source documents received after the release of preliminary results. Among the changes resulting from the updates to the 2010 CFOI include:
- The final 2010 total fatal work injuries was the second lowest annual total since the fatal injury census was first conducted in 1992. As a result of the increase, the overall 2010 fatal work injury rate for the U.S. rose slightly from 3.5 to 3.6 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.
- Workplace suicides were higher by 12 cases after the updates, bringing the workplace suicide total in 2010 to 270 cases – the highest annual total ever reported by the fatal injury census. In contrast, the final number of workplace homicides in 2010 – 518 – was the lowest ever for the series.
- Highway incidents were higher by 76 cases – or 8 percent – from the preliminary count, bringing the total number of fatal work-related highway incidents in 2010 to 1,044 cases. The final 2010 highway incident count was 6 percent higher than the final 2009 final number, but was still the second lowest annual total ever reported by the program.
- In the private construction sector fatal injuries increased by 23 cases from the preliminary count. The final fatal work injury total was down 7 percent from the final 2009 total and 2010 was the fourth consecutive year that fatal work injury totals have declined in this industry sector.
- The largest net increase in fatal work injuries among occupations involved drivers of tractor trailer or other heavy trucks. The total for this occupation rose from 577 cases to 610 after updates were added—an increase of 6 percent.
- Overall, 30 States revised their counts upward as a result of the update process.
Along with the attributed 518 workplace deaths to homicide in 2010, final data from the 2010 CFOI also found that:
- Although workplace homicides declined in 2010 to the lowest total ever recorded by the CFOI, workplace homicides that involved women increased by 13 percent, making homicide was the leading cause of death for women in the workplace.
- A higher percentage of fatal work injuries involving women resulted from homicides compared to men, 26 percent for women to 10 percent for men.
- Workplace homicides made up 17 percent of multiple fatality incidents in 2010.
- Of the 518 deaths from workplace homicides in 2010, 423 of the victims were men while 95 were women.
- Of the 518 workplace homicides in 2010, 405 were homicides by shooting.
- 432 of the 518 workplace homicides in 2010 – over 80 percent – occurred in private industry.
As for fatal occupational injuries resulting from homicides by occupation in the United States, the 2010 CFOI found that ‘Sales Related’ occupations that included sales supervisors, salespeople, and cashiers were the most vulnerable (134 workplace homicides), followed by ‘Protective Service’ positions such as police offiers and security guards (97 workplace homicides), and ‘Transportation and Moving’ jobs including truck drivers and taxi drivers (83 workplace homicides).
The CFOI Program has compiled an annual count of all fatal work injuries occurring in the U.S. since 1992 by identifying, verifying, and profiling fatal work injuries. For more information, see Chapter 9 of the BLS Handbook of Methods available at http://www.bls.gov/opub/hom/homch9.htm#census_fatal.
According to the OSHA ‘Workplace Violence’ web page, research has identified factors that may increase the risk of violence for some workers at certain worksites. Such factors include:
- Exchanging money with the public;
- Working with volatile and unstable people;
- Working alone or in isolated areas;
- Providing services and care;
- Working where alcohol is served; and
- Working late at night or in areas with high crime rates;
In addition, research finds that some workers with an increased risk of workplace violence are:
- Delivery drivers;
- Healthcare professionals;
- Public service workers;
- Customer service agents; and
- Law enforcement personnel.
For more information, read ESR News blogs tagged ‘workplace violence’ and visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and nationwide background screening firm accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) – at http://www.esrcheck.com/ or call 415.898.0044.
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