Workplace Violence: New York Shooting Is Part of Larger Problem

Workplace injuries can take many forms. Construction workers, sanitation workers and first responders are among the many New York workers whose jobs put them at risk of injury or death.

The fatal shooting outside the Empire State Building on August 24 was also a stark reminder that accidents aren’t the only cause of workplace injuries or fatalities. Deliberate acts of violence are a major source of harm as well.

By now, the basic facts of the shooting outside the apparel company 10 days ago are widely known. A 52-year-old former employee who had been let go from the company shot and killed the man he blamed for his departure. The former employee then pointed his gun at police, who shot and killed him.

How frequently does violent death on the job occur? Nationally, the average in recent years has been over 500 job-related homicides per year. The number was 518 in 2010 and 506 in 2011, according to federal data.

Overall, the total number of work-related violent deaths has declined since it peaked in 1994. Experts are concerned, however, that it could start rising again, given stressful the post-recession workplace is for so many people.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, homicide is the fourth most common cause of fatal work-related injuries in the country. For women, the risk is even greater; for them, homicide is the leading cause of workplace death.

Homicide is by no means the only risk, either. Other types of workplace violence can cause all sorts of serious injuries.

Source: “Workplace homicides on the decline,”, Mary Diduch, 8-25-12

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