Hellman & Associates

Violence in the Workplace

OSHA Standard:General Duty Clause 5(a)(1)

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has found that an average of 20 workers are murdered each week in the United States. In addition, an estimated 1 million workers -18,000 per week – are victims of nonfatal workplace assaults each year.

Interesting Statistics

  • Homicide is the second leading cause of death on the job, second only to motor vehicle crashes.
  • Homicide is the leading cause of workplace death among females. However, men are at three times higher risk of becoming victims of workplace homicides than women.
  • Homicide is also the leading cause of death for workers under 18 years of age.
  • The majority of workplace homicides are robbery-related crimes (71%) with only 9% committed by coworkers or former coworkers.
  • Additionally, 76% of all workplace homicides are committed with a firearm.


Workplace violence is any physical assault, threatening behavior, or verbal abuse occurring in the work setting. A workplace may be any location either permanent or temporary where an employee performs any work-related duty.

Types of Workplace Violence Include:

  • Violence by strangers
  • Violence by customers or clients
  • Violence by co-workers
  • Violence by former workers
  • Violence by personal relations
  • Threats or obscene phone calls

Five Warning Signs of Escalating Behavior in Customers or Fellow Employees Include:

  • Confusion
  • Frustration
  • Blame
  • Anger
  • Hostility

We should attempt to mitigate escalating behavior whenever safely possible before it reaches the anger step! Harassment