Workplace Violence


The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that approximately 20 workers are murdered and 18,000 workers are assaulted at work each week in the United States . The same organization reports that homicide is the second most common cause of death at work, and it is the leading cause of death for women in the workplace. These statistics demonstrate how workplace violence has become a serious problem in the United States. Furthermore, no employer is immune to acts of workplace violence. Employers need to recognize this and address issues of violence specific to the employer’s own organization.

While the underlying roots of the problem are complex, employers can take action to reduce the likelihood of acts of violence in the workplace. These measures include:

  • Developing and implementing a specific workplace violence policy (Sample Policy)
  • Conducting employee behavioral screening during the hiring process
  • Sponsoring supervisor training programs to help identify and respond to “risk” employees: Risk Factors
  • Establishing threat assessment teams
  • Planning for violence prevention when downsizing
  • Identifying in-house and community resources, including access to HelpPeople

As an Employee Assistance Program, HelpPeople has education programs on workplace violence for employees or management staff. Anyone interested in these seminars should contact Andy Ohstrom, SPHR, program director, at 800-777-6110 or 315-470-7447 or by email at