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16 Disturbing Workplace Violence Statistics for 2023
Updated · Sep 09, 2023
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Workplace violence comes in many forms. While it can be any act or threat of physical violence, it can also encompass harassment, intimidation, or other threatening and disruptive workplace behavior.
Many workers are victims of workplace violence. However, many cases remain unreported for fear of retaliation from bosses or coworkers. Unfortunately, current workplace violence statistics show some terrifying numbers.
If you’re curious about the terrifying truth behind workplace violence, read on!
How Many People Experience Workplace Violence?
14 members of the US labor force sustain injuries every second. While many of these injuries are due to the nature of their jobs, others are due to more deliberate causes, like workplace violence.
Most businesses do not report workplace violence that does not result in deaths or serious injuries. That’s due to a lack of communication, fear of taking action, and lack of awareness.
Unfortunately, the numbers are hard to ignore. Let’s dive in.
General Facts About Workplace Statistics
Companies from all industries still struggle with workplace violence.
Violence in the workplace affects millions of individuals every year. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 20,050 private sector workers were traumatized by nonfatal workplace violence in 2020. Days off work were even required due to these incidents.
Get ahead and learn more about workplace violence with these figures.
1. 743 million people worldwide have experienced violence or harassment in their workplace.
This percentage equates to 23% of the world’s total employees.
Nearly 32% of workers report experiencing more than one type of violence or harassment.
6.3% of employees said they had experienced all three types of workplace violence, including psychological, physical, and sexual assaults.
2. Over 2 million Americans are injured yearly at their workplace for various reasons, including violence.
Over 2.6 million workers in the United States suffered non-fatal workplace injuries in 2021. Some common physical injuries in the workplace include:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Handling, lifting, and carrying accidents
- Being struck or caught in machinery
- Intentional violence
While some industries, like manufacturing and construction, come with more risks than others, all employers have a duty to keep their workers away from harm.
3. One in seven people feel unsafe in their workplace.
Unfortunately, in some workplaces, the threat of violence is so widespread that it affects employees’ daily lives. Due to lack of trust, fear of violent events reoccurring, and dread of losing their jobs, one in seven employees feel unsafe at work.
4. As of January 2022, only 45% of people know their company's safety plan.
Over half of all US employees have no idea about their employer’s violence prevention or safety plan. Many people find workplace violence policies vague, confusing, or downright non-existent.
Up to 24% of workers say they are unsure whether safety plans exist. This lack of awareness can lead to devastating consequences, like not knowing what to do during medical emergencies, shootings, fire emergencies, and other cases.
5. Healthcare workers make up 50% of victims of such crimes.
Nurses get attacked more often than doctors because they spend more time with patients.
Did you know healthcare workers are 5x more likely to experience workplace violence than workers in other industries? pic.twitter.com/Cx68QstahS— Arghavan Salles, MD, PhD (@arghavan_salles) August 18, 2023
Aside from that, healthcare workers are also generally more vulnerable to assault and other types of violence.
- 47% of emergency doctors have experienced violence while working.
- 70% of emergency nurses experienced assaults while on the job.
Not only are these health workers undervalued and at risk, but they are also vastly underpaid, considering the occupational risks involved.
6. In the fourth quarter of 2021, over 30% of nurses reported increased attacks against them.
Reports reveal that as of September 2021, tense politics around vaccines were reported as the leading cause of increased violence against nurses.
31% of nurses, up from 22% in March 2021, have reported that patients are more violent to nurses due to their close proximity and long hours.
7. 44% of school teachers also report attacks in the workplace.
(What to Become)
While school shootings are a concern in the US, so are violent attacks directed towards school teachers.
Teachers and non-teaching personnel face physical, verbal, and even sexual assaults from colleagues, supervisors, and even students at school.
The worst part is that most of the time, workplace violence statistics show that they don’t report those cases to protect their students.
8. 7% of fatalities in the workplace have resulted from hitting, kicking, beating, or pushing.
Many employees are assaulted at work by a coworker or a supervisor.
Physical assault at the workplace can include multiple acts of violence, such as hitting, kicking, beating, clawing, and pushing.
Only 2% of cases involve verbal attacks.
💡Did You Know?
Sometimes, a worker’s behavior on social media can also be a sign of bullying. If you know someone you think is being bullied or is being a bully, it may be the right decision to report their actions to HR.
If you don’t know where the person works, check out our guide on how to find a person’s workplace.
Workplace Violence Types
Violence has different faces. While policies from state to state and country to country generally vary, three main types of violence and harassment can happen in the workplace:
Let's see what kind of violence is more common among which categories of people.
9. 6.3% of workers worldwide have experienced sexual violence and harassment in the workplace.
(Gallup, National Sexual Violence Resource Center)
Overall, the data above equates to 205 million workers.
While numerous advancements have been set into motion in the past years, sexual violence remains a pervasive societal issue requiring more policy reforms, especially in the workplace.
Unfortunately, 8.2% of women faced sexual assault in the workplace, compared to 5.0% of men.
The adverse consequences of sexual violence differ from person to person. Regardless, these can profoundly affect a worker, leading to:
- Interrupted job performance
- Loss of experienced employees
These effects are just the direct results. Many other adverse effects can also manifest indirectly.
10. 583 million people (17.9% of the global workforce) have experienced psychological violence or harassment.
Psychological abuse is the most common form of violence reported by men and women.
Nearly one in five employees have had this experience in their working life.
11. 277 million people had cases of physical violence or harassment at their work. (Gallup)
The data above is 8.5 % of the global workforce. Men report physical violence and harassment more often than women. Nearly one in ten employees experienced this at work.
To dig deeper into this concern, below are the different types of harassment and the global workforce percentage affected by it.
Type of Violence and Harassment
Number of Employees Worldwide, in millions
Percentage of the Global Workforce
12. Women report 30,000 sexual assaults at the workplace annually.
(What to Become)
Violence against women is nothing new in the workplace. With more people advocating against sexual assault, many high-profile sexual assault cases have found notoriety post - #MeToo movement.
From Harvey Weinstein to Bill Clinton, many high-profile men with top positions in entertainment, government, sports, finances, and academia have been in hot waters in the past few decades. More are embroiled in sexual assault cases as victims become more empowered to speak out.
Regardless, many sexual assaults remain unreported due to the negative stigma against it and fear of retaliation from coworkers and higher-ups.
13. 23% of females who have experienced sexual harassment report worsened harassment since the pandemic started.
(Rights of Women)
In an online survey between November and December 2020, 42% of the respondents who have experienced some form of sexual harassment at work reported it happened online.
Hybrid work setups increased by around 20% after the pandemic, allowing new opportunities for workplace violence in online and face-to-face settings.
Working at home doesn’t seem to be the solution, though. It worsened as perpetrators took advantage of the online work setup and social media during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On top of that, one respondent reported that the lack of separation between their home lives and work has led to an invasion of their privacy and generally feeling unsafe.
Another reports that her higher-ups took screenshots of herself and other female coworkers to share with their colleagues to mock and make derogatory statements about them.
The study shows that sexual harassment can occur in any context and medium. Many victims have seen their harassers use new technologies like Zoom and social media to perpetrate abuse and violence.
14. Around 30% of Americans have been bullied at their workplace.
(Workplace Bullying Institute)
Workplace bullying is a pervasive issue in many workplaces. It refers to the repeated, harmful mistreatment by one or more workers to another. Moreover, it encompasses abusive conduct, work sabotage, and perceived threatening, intimidating, or humiliating behavior.
Overall, 76.3 million workers have reported they are bullied at their workplace.
Moreover, the effects spill into the online sphere as well. 43% of people working remotely have reported being bullied.
Bullies often choose victims because of gender, sexual orientation, or race. Its lasting effects include high anxiety levels, depression, and health issues.
15. 35% of workplace violence incidents involve head injuries.
While attackers mainly aim at the head, workplace violence statistics also show that:
- 21% of injuries are on the upper body.
- 14% affected the trunk.
- 7% are targetted at the lower body.
While many people generally recover from minor head injuries within two weeks, others can experience its effects for months or years. Long-term effects can manifest in symptoms like dizziness, headaches, and issues with concentration and memory.
16. There are 2 million victims of workplace violence each year.
68% of workers globally do not feel safe at work. There is an overwhelming dissatisfaction with health and safety protections at the workplace.
Of the 2 million victims of workplace violence, 400,000 are victims of aggravated assault and 51,000 are of sexual assault and rape.
Workplace Violence Cost
Violence at the workplace is a costly affair. Companies can lose billions of dollars in medical and psychological care for victims. Moreover, legal costs, lost wages, property damage, loss of reputation, and impact on employee turnover can affect the finances of a company.
Let’s examine the data below.
17. Workplace violence results in $120 billion lost every year.
OSHA estimates that workplace violence costs $120 billion in direct and indirect consequences of workplace violence.
The NSC pegs this much higher. Their estimates claim that $171 billion is lost yearly.
In cases where the victim pursues legal consequences concerning workplace violence, the average settlement is $500,000.
🎉 Fun Fact:
18. Attacks on medics cost hospitals $53.7 million a year.
Medics take roughly 112.8 hours out of the hospital due to job-related brutality. These attacks lead to more stress for the staff that has to cover shifts and deal with aggressive patients.
The result is $53.7 million of annual losses, depression, burnout, and high job dissatisfaction among healthcare workers.
Any organization can be a hotbed of workplace violence. Unfortunately, many do not have a plan to mitigate, prevent, or manage crises caused by violence in the workplace.
Comprehensive workplace violence policies and active awareness programs for all employees are necessary to eradicate workplace violence.
What percentage of workplaces are violent?
According to statistics on workplace violence, 2 million people report cases of aggressive behavior on the job. Healthcare workers and teachers often seem to be the victims of such occurrences.
What is the most common cause of workplace violence?
When focusing on worker-on-worker violence, frustration and unhappiness with the job is a common cause. A behavior change can be traced to long working hours, toxic work environments, and intense industry competition.
What are the 4 types of workplace violence?
The four types of workplace violence are criminal intent, customer/client-on-worker violence, worker-on-worker, and personal relationship violence.
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