Workplace violence is any type of violence or threat of violence against workers. It generally occurs in the workplace but can also happen away from it. Workplace violence can range from threats and verbal abuse to more serious events that lead to physical assaults, homicides, and mass casualty events, such as those that occurred recently at workplaces in Atlanta, Georgia, and Boulder, Colorado. Because April is Workplace Violence Awareness month, we would like to share resources on what we know based on research and also where research gaps still exist.
Workplace violence can occur anywhere and at any time, but certain groups of workers are at increased risk. These groups include those who exchange money with the public; transport passengers, goods, or services; work alone or in small groups late at night or early in the morning; and come into close contact as they treat and provide patient care. Examples include retail workers, nurses, taxi drivers, and others who commonly interact with customers, clients, or patients. However, workplace violence doesn’t have to involve workers and customers or clients. Threats and assaults can also come from other employees, supervisors or managers, a domestic partner, or a current or former spouse.