Epidemic: Workplace Violence in the U.S.

Many of us only think about workplace violence when there is a mass shooting reported in the media. The reality is millions of people in the U.S. fall victim to workplace violence in a variety of forms every year.

To better understand just how challenging this problem is, along with its intricacies and complexities, TAL Global, an international security and risk consulting firm based in Silicon Valley, CA, analyzed the following data collected from various but credible sources in the past couple of years. 

In general, the data indicates the following:

  • In the United States, there are an estimated two million victims of this type of violence every year. 
  • In 2019, workplace violence took the lives of 454 people. Related to this, men are more prone to die from this type of violence than women. 
  • Roughly 51,000 rapes and sexual assaults occur in the U.S. workplace each year, according to a National Crime Victimization Survey. 
  • It’s hard to determine how much this type of violence costs American businesses. However, it is estimated to be more than $170 billion annually.  

Workplace Violence and Healthcare

Healthcare and social services are now the industries with the most workplace violence victims. These numbers were on the rise before COVID but accelerated considerably once the pandemic reached our shores.

This type of violence is particularly serious in healthcare because it can have severe ramifications for healthcare in the entire country. 

According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), this type of violence in healthcare “makes it more difficult for nurses, doctors, and other clinical staff to provide quality patient care. . . when they are afraid for their personal safety, distracted by disruptive patients and family members, or traumatized from prior violent interactions.” 

With that said, the data regarding workplace violence in healthcare reveals the following: 

  • Violence against healthcare workers is 12 times higher than for the rest of the U.S. workforce.  
  • Emergency care nurses are particularly prone to this type of violence—more than 25 percent report such incidents yearly.
  • In one of its last studies on this topic, which did not include data during the pandemic, OSHA reported 221,000 work-related injuries in hospitals in 2019.
  • Another study by the AHA reported that 44 percent of nurses reported experiencing physical violence and 68 percent reported experiencing verbal abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Corporate Policies

It’s clear from these statistics that workplace violence is a significant concern in this country and likely one that will be a growing concern in future years. So how can organizations in America and around the world address this?

According to Johnathan Tal, CEO of TAL Global, the first step is to establish a “zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence. This is a top-down approach that must be implemented to curb workplace violence and ensure the safety and security in the workplace.”

With this first step accomplished, the next is to develop policies and procedures to prevent and manage this type of violence, often in consult with professional security experts. These professionals will likely recommend creating a workplace violence prevention and management program and conducting facility and vulnerability security assessments.  As we have defined before, a security and vulnerability assessment is:

A detailed examination of a facility, looking for the security stance at that point in time and any gaps or vulnerabilities that could allow people or property to be harmed. A thorough and professional assessment helps identify these risks and then suggests ways to minimize or eliminate them in a systematic and prioritized way.

This applies to all types of security vulnerabilities, including workplace violence. Taking these steps will provide leadership with trusted expert solutions to protect their most valuable assets, the people who make up their workforce. 

 

workplace violence

 

References

TAL Global believes this is vital information.  It is provided by recognized credible sources including OSHA, the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the Department of Justice, and others.  Additional sources include the following:

  Society for Human Resource Management. “Understanding Workplace Violence Prevention and Response.

 Forbes.New Study Says Workplace Bullying On Rise: What You Can Do During National Bullying Prevention Month.

 International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety Foundation. “Mitigating the Risk of Workplace Violence in Health Care Settings.

United States Department of Labor. “Workplace Violence.

 United States Bureau of Justice Statistics. “National Crime Victimization Survey.

 Forbes.Healthcare Remains America’s Most Dangerous Profession Due To Workplace Violence.

Honeywell. “Honeywell Survey Reveals 68% Of Surveyed Workers Do Not Feel Completely Safe In Their Buildings.”  Note: This study was conducted with Wakefield Research, a B2B research organization.  Honeywell is a Fortune 100 company that does manufacturer electronic security devices.

Society for Human Resource Management. “Workplace Violence: A Growing Threat, Or Growing in Awareness?” Accessed on December 16, 2021.

Society for Human Resource Management. “Survey: Half of HR Pro’s Workplaces Experienced Violence.” 

Denverite. “Homicide is a Leading Cause of Workplace Death for Women.” 

Business Insider. “Nurses Say Patients Are Getting More Abusive, and Simple Questions Can Set Them Off.” 

Marketplace. “Is Your Office Prepared for a Workplace Shooting?” 

 Alert Find. “Workplace Violence Statistics 2018: A Growing Problem.” 

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Homicides and Other Workplace Assaults by Gender in 2019.” 

United States Bureau of Justice Statistics. “Special Report: Violence In The Workplace.” Accessed on December 16, 2021.

Rave Mobile Safety. “The Latest on Workplace Violence Statistics.Note: Rave Mobile is part of Motorola, manufacturers of cellphone technologies.

Zippia, a career placement agency.

© TAL Global, 2019