In 2011, one in every five fatal work injuries was attributed not to accidents but to workplace violence.
Preliminary statistics from the 2011 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that of the 4,609 total fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2011, 780 fatalities – or nearly 17 percent – were a result of violence and other injuries by persons or animals.
The 2011 CFOI also found of the 780 fatal work injuries caused by violence and other injuries by persons or animals, 458 were homicides and 242 were suicides. In addition, 37 deaths were due to animal- or insect-related incidents. Other key preliminary findings of the 2011 CFOI with regard to deaths as a result of workplace violence included:
- Gender: 680 of the workplace violence fatalities in 2011 were men and 100 were women.
- Employee Status: 548 of the workplace violence fatalities in 2011 were wage and salary workers while 232 were self-employed.
- Age: 203 of the workplace violence fatalities in 2011 were 45 to 54 years, 173 were 35 to 44 years, and 148 were 25 to 34 years.
Of workplace violence fatalities involving female workers, nearly two out of every five homicides to female workers involved assailants who were relatives, with almost all being current and former spouses or domestic partners. Robbers were the assailants in another 22 percent of these fatalities.
In contrast to female workers, relatives accounted for only about two percent of assailants in workplace violence fatalities involving males. Robbers were the assailants in over one third of the homicide cases involving male workers.
The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), part of the BLS Occupational Safety and Health Statistics (OSHS) program, compiles a count of all fatal work injuries occurring in the U.S. during the calendar year. Final 2011 data from the CFOI program will be released in Spring 2013.
OSHA describes workplace violence as “violence or the threat of violence against workers” that “can occur at or outside the workplace and can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide” and is “one of the leading causes of job-related deaths.” OSHA estimates some 2 million American workers are victims of workplace violence each year.