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violence in the workplace


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Recently, violence in the workplace has received considerable attention in the popular press and among safety and health professionals. Much of the reason for this attention is the reporting of data by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and others regarding the magnitude of this problem in U.S. workplaces.

Unfortunately, sensational acts of coworker violence (which form only a small part of the problem) are often emphasized by the media to the exclusion of the almost daily killings of taxicab drivers, convenience store clerks and other retail workers, security guards, and police officers. These deaths often go virtually unnoticed, yet their numbers are staggering: 1,071 workplace homicides occurred in 1994.

These homicides included 179 supervisors or proprietors in retail sales, 105 cashiers, 86 taxicab drivers, 49 managers in restaurants or hotels, 70 police officers or detectives, and 76 security guards [BLS 1995]. An additional 1 million workers were assaulted each year. These figures indicate that an average of 20 workers are murdered and 18,000 are assaulted each week while at work or on duty.

Death or injury should not be an inevitable result of one's chosen occupation, nor should these staggering figures be accepted as a cost of doing business in our society.

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J. R. Roberts
Security Strategies
PO Box 279
Balsam, North Carolina

(912) 441-2059


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