Today's News

Workplace assaults: Who's at risk?

July 17, 2003
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
With the threat of workplace violence high on employers’ minds after a worker’s killing spree in early July left five Lockheed Martin employees dead in a Meridian, Miss. plant, new research shows that half of all workplace assaults in West Virginia over a three-year period victimized health care workers.

According to a study of workers’ compensation claims by West Virginia University researchers, nearly all of these attacks came from the people workers were trying to help — patients or nursing home residents.

Nationally, up to 45 percent of workplace assaults are committed by patients in health care settings.

Healthcare workers had the highest absolute number of assaults, but public safety workers experienced the highest rate of assault injuries (number of new cases per 100 workers), due to the nature of their work.

Teachers were identified as a high-risk occupation. But more information is needed to identify what type of teachers or setting — youth shelters, juvenile correctional facilities, schools — contributed to the finding.

The research, published in the July issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, reviewed workers’ compensation injuries from 1996 to 1999 in cases where violence was intentionally inflicted on an employee.

To find the cases for inclusion in the study, researchers searched the state’s workers’ compensation database using such keywords as: fight, assault, altercation, dispute, attack, kill, employee, boss, client and coworker.

For all three occupations, the hours from midnight to 8 a.m. were the most dangerous, but they were especially so for female healthcare workers.

Male workers sustained the bulk of the injuries in public safety because they form a larger proportion of that workforce.

Sprain was the most common severe assault injury across these three high-risk occupations. Other common injuries were bruises and fractures among healthcare workers, fractures and lacerations among public safety personnel and bruises and fractures among teachers.

West Virginia researchers also noticed a surge in assault injuries from February to June, called a “springtime peak.”

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.


Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn



Image Galleries

ASSE's Safety 2013 Review

A photo gallery from the Las Vegas Convention Center, where ASSE’s annual professional development conference was held June 24 to 27. All photos courtesy of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

ISHN Magazine

ishn april 2014 issue cover

2014 April

In this month's issue of ISHN, check out features about safety in the oil and gas industry.

Table Of Contents Subscribe


M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - January 2014

ISHN0114_FDO_cov.jpgFor Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THEJANUAYR 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.