Women who are murdered at work are almost as likely to be the victim of a spouse, friend, or relative as they are an assailant they do not know, a new study of workplace violence found.
“Domestic violence can spill over into the workplace and our findings indicate that women are killed on the job by intimate partners nearly as frequently as they are killed by strangers,” the report by researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and West Virginia University concluded.
In 33 percent of workplace homicides, the assailant had a personal relationship with the victim, while robberies and similar attacks were responsible for 39 percent of the deaths, the study determined. The remaining deaths involved co-workers or customers.
The report, “Workplace Homicides Among U.S. Women: The Role of Intimate Partner Violence,” appeared in the April edition of Annals of Epidemiology (Vol. 22, Issue 4).
Report co-author Hope M. Tiesman, an epidemiologist with NIOSH's Division of Safety Research in Morgantown, W.Va., told BNA April 6 that the results show the need for employer workplace violence prevention programs to address threats from potentially violent spouses, relatives, and other acquaintances.
As a starting point for developing prevention programs, Tiesman recommended the Department of Justice-sponsored website, http://www.workplacesrespond.org.
The report's research looked at information collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries for the years 2003 through 2008 and the bureau's Current Population Survey.
The authors said they think this study is the first nationwide review of workplace homicides committed by intimate partners and others with a personal relationship with the female victim. Previous studies were limited to a particular city or state.
The census showed there were 648 workplace homicides of women during those six years. There were enough details for 544 cases (84 percent) to determine a personal relationship between the victim and assailant.
Of those 544 murders, 81 involved a former or current spouse, 61 were attributed to a current or former unmarried partner, and 39 were attributed to friend or relative.
“I was shocked at the number of deaths that had occurred,” Tiesman said of the number attributed to intimate partners.
She noted that when preventing workplace homicides is discussed, much of the focus is on dealing with criminals, co-workers, and customers.
“We spend very little time talking about [personal relations],” Tiesman said.
When the researchers looked at victims' ages, they found that about 44 percent of the victims between ages 25 and 44 were killed by intimate partners, while robbery was the primary event leading to the murders of women in other age groups.
Tiesman suspects older women are less often victims of spouses or partners because they have left bad relationships.
The report also found that women working for private employers were more likely to be murder victims than women working for a government agency. The rate for privately employed women was almost two murders for every 1 million female employees compared to about one murder for every 1 million women employed by a government agency.
Data were not available to explain the difference, but Tiesman said it could reflect tighter security at government buildings.
The most common place for assaults by personal relations were parking lots and garages (27 percent).
The prevalence of attacks in parking areas suggests the need for having separate parking areas for employees and non-employees and improved safety in parking areas through the use of lighting and security patrols, the report said.
The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration in September issued guidelines to its inspectors for investigating on-the-job violence (62 BTM 290, 9/13/11).
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)