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Workplace Violence a Significant Cause of Worker Death

In 2012, there were 767 workers who died because of violence in the workplace. This figure includes 463 homicides and 225 suicides. This is about 17 percent of all work-related deaths in that year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although the number of on-the-job suicides was down by about 10 percent, the number of homicides declined by a much smaller amount.

Shootings were the most common cause of death in both homicides (81 percent) and suicides (48 percent). Stabbings were the second most common cause of homicide on the job. Of the 338 fatal work injuries that involved women workers, 29 percent were homicides. Workers in food and beverage stores and retail sales generally were most likely to be the victim of an on-the-job homicide. Law enforcement and protective service workers also had high rates of death from workplace violence, as did ground transit and passenger transportation employees.

In terms of demographics, Asian workers were most likely to die on the job as a result of another’s violence.

Workplace violence was one of the primary causes of employee fatalities in New York City in 2012. Of the 75 worker fatalities, 26 were the result of violence by another. New York City accounted for more than half of the 40 deaths caused by workplace violence in New York State. For New York State overall, the number of workplace deaths caused by homicide or suicide was down slightly, whereas for New York City, the number of deaths increased.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2012 (Preliminary Results), August 22, 2013.