NCCI: Crime-related injuries have second highest average severity
Analysts looked at statistics involving workplace assaults and homicides, extending a series of previous studies through 2009. The research offers a glimpse into the realities of workplace violence.
Among the changes from previous research are the following:
- Homicides due to robberies and other criminal acts have declined but still comprise 69 percent of all homicides.
- Service station attendants, barbers, and taxi drivers have the highest incidence rates of on-the-job homicides.
- An increase in violent acts by customers has driven up the category of homicides committed by coworkers and customers to about 21 percent.
- While there has been a decline in the rate of workplace assaults, it has lagged the steady drop in the rate for all lost work-time injuries and illnesses.
- Health care workers experience high rates of injuries due to assaults by patients.
"The rates of workplace violence in terms of both homicides and assaults have been trending lower," according to the report. "Homicides make up 11 percent of workplace fatalities and while assaults by persons comprise less than 2 percent of all lost time workplace injuries and illnesses, that share has been increasing."
Homicides. Older workers have a disproportionately high share of workplace homicides. The authors suggest that is because these workers have a higher share of employment in occupations with high homicide rates, such as barbers, taxi drivers, and security guards.
The share of homicides due to customers has increased at drinking places and as a result of apprehending customers and breaking up fights. Overall, the share of workplace homicides due to interactions with customers increased from 5 percent to 12 percent then fell back to 9 percent in the period 2003 to 2009.
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs, which previously held the highest rate of workplace homicides, are now third on the list -- falling from 16.4 percent in 2003 to 6.8 percent in 2003. The implementation of cashless transactions in cabs "may have contributed to the decline," the writers suggest. Other occupations with higher homicide rates include security guards, door-to-door sales workers and street vendors, lodging managers, and supervisors of retail sales workers.
Health care support services and personal care services are the occupations where workplace assaults have increased the most. Patients and residents of health care facilities account for the largest share of workplace assaults at 61 percent. Coworkers or former coworkers make up a small share of assaults.
Nursing care facilities have an especially high rate of assaults. Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, mental health and substance abuse facilities, and other residential care facilities, such as group homes for children and youth, also have high assault rates.
Solutions. Recommendations from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health from 1996 have been largely instituted. For example, surveillance cameras have become commonplace "and could have helped with the decline in the overall rates of workplace violence," the authors say.
However, there is room for improvement. The large shares of homicides resulting from robberies, and assaults by health care patients are among the continuing concerns.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
February 16, 2012
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