Monday, October 8, 2012

780 Violent Deaths in the Workplace

Break down like so...

I've been working through the preliminary BLS 2011 CFOI for discussion with my peers and in preparation for a presentation at work this week.

This being the USA, most workplace homicides are committed by criminals with firearms.  Still, there are other horrible events described in the data:

  • Shooting - 358
  • Stabbing, cutting, slashing, piercing - 42
  • Hitting, kicking, beating, shoving - 26
  • Strangulation by other person - 4
  • Multiple violent acts by other person - 10

As always, suicide remains an under-appreciated category.  It comprises a third of all violent death in the workplace but attracts less attention and passion that the "workplace violence" perpetrated by Type II, III, and IV offenders combined (which happens at about half the rate as self-destruction).  We can take comfort that there were fewer on-the-job suicides in 2011 (242) than in 2010 (270), but how many of these tragedies were preventable?

  • Shooting - 108
  • Hanging, strangulation, asphyxiation - 85
  • Jumping from building or other structure - 18
  • Cutting, stabbing - 7
  • Drug overdose - 6
  • Inhalation of substance - 9

My profession's interest is usually in deliberate action by malefactors, but some violent workplace deaths are accidental or the result of less willful acts.  Injury by person, unintentional or intention unknown, is another new and sad category.  The idea that 17 employees killed their coworkers or themselves through negligent discharge of their firearms is a very serious training issue.  The numbers are incomplete, but within the total of 43 such deaths we know this much so far:

  • Shooting by other person - 10
  • Injured by physical contact with person while restraining, subduing - 3
  • Self-inflicted shooting - 7
  • Drug overdose - 14

Of the 37 employees who died in animal and insect related incidents (usually considered a safety issue) we have the following details:

  • Bites - 1
  • Stings and venomous bites - 12
  • Trampled by or stepped on by animal - 8
  • Kicked by animal - 4
  • Gored or rammed by animal - 5   

Again, these are preliminary numbers; the final totals always increase.  While the numbers continue to decline, mostly due to reductions in Type I criminal violence, there is still plenty of work for us to do.