According to the National Safety Council, workplace violence is the fourth leading cause of deaths at work. In 2018, there were 20,790 injuries and 453 fatalities due to workplace violence. While certain industries, such as healthcare, tend to have more incidents of workplace violence, no industries are immune to workplace violence. (See More Workplace Violence Data Below)
Some workplace violence incidents, such as the one that recently occurred in Louisville, make headlines around the world. However, what is very unfortunate is that as stunned and upset we become when we hear of workplace violence, our memories are short, and within a few weeks, we forget about them . . . just in time for the next incident of workplace violence to occur. This is especially true of the smaller incidents of workplace violence.
We must realize all these incidents – big or small – are serious. Life-threatening events can happen anywhere at any time. Because of this, we’d like to refresh your memory by detailing some smaller workplace violence events that occurred in just the past couple of years, which did not make international headlines.
Workplace Violence in Aurora, Illinois
A 15-year employee at an industrial facility was being fired from his job. It is believed that he knew he would be fired, which is one reason he brought a firearm to work. As soon as he was told he was being let go, he went on a shooting rampage. Five people were killed. In addition, as soon as the police arrived, they were all shot as well. However, all recovered.
Workplace Violence in Southaven, Mississippi
This small town is a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee. A Walmart employee was notified he was being suspended from work pending the outcome of an investigation. One early morning, he walked into the store and shot and killed two managers. Two police officers were called to the scene. They too were shot, but their bulletproof vests saved their lives.
Workplace Violence in San Francisco, California
Certainly, not all workplace violence events occur in small cities like the two just mentioned. A former employee of a Ford dealership in this city was fired from his job. He then shot and killed three employees of the dealership before killing himself. The two killed were the man’s bosses, and the third was the manager of the division he worked in.
Workplace Violence in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
A 51-year-old employee of a brewery killed himself after killing five fellow workers. The shooter was known to have a long-standing dispute with other employees, including his superiors. It is believed that the incident was also racially motivated. The Gun Violence Archive indicated this was the 45th mass shooting – shootings injuring or killing four people or more – in the United States in 2020. It happened on February 26, 2020, just two months into the year.
Workplace Violence in San Antonio, Texas
A worker at a moving company had an ongoing dispute with some of his fellow staffers, including his immediate boss. One day, he came into the office and shot two people. He then continued randomly shooting several people in the parking lot, but all those victims recovered.
Notice any similarities here? These all involved a disgruntled employee who takes out his anger by shooting others. Very often, it is their immediate boss that is the target. Often as well, others just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
What is less noticeable is that in all these incidents, the one carrying out the shootings invariably showed signs that they might be violent. The problem is, these signs were not recognized or if they were, not taken seriously.
One of the services TAL Global offers is to help administrators learn the signs of workplace violence and, just as important, steps to help prevent an incident from occurring. This is why we are encouraging business owners, administrators, and others to join us for our upcoming, Free webinar:
“What Is a Workplace Violence Program and Why Do I Need One?”
It will be presented by Oscar Villanueva, a recognized expert on this topic. His experience with the U.S Postal Inspection Service, handling workplace violence at various levels of the organization is now widely considered the “gold standard” for keeping the workplace safe and secure.
Join us on April 27, 2023, at 11:00 am Pacific Time.
For more information or to register, click here.
More Workplace Violence Data
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of those victims who experienced trauma from workplace violence:
- 73% were female
- 62% were aged 25 to 54
- 76% worked in the healthcare and social assistance industry
- 22% required 31 or more days away from work to recover, and 22% involved 3 to 5 days away from work