Background: Violence in the workplace accounts for 1000 fatalities and over 20,000 nonfatal events annually in the United States. The occupations with the most fatalities are taxicab drivers, employees in retail establishments, and law enforcement officers. Environmental strategies as well as behavioral and administrative measures could be employed to address violence.
Methods: This paper reports a critical review of the published literature on administrative and behavioral interventions directed at addressing workplace violence. Searching 17 different databases, we identified 137 papers that described workplace violence intervention strategies. Papers were further categorized according to whether they provided empirical data about an intervention or merely suggested intervention ideas. Suggested interventions were categorized according to applicability to types of workplace violence and organized according to the Haddon Matrix.
Results: Forty-one reports suggested intervention strategies but provided no empirical data; nine reported results of intervention evaluations. All intervention studies were based in the health care industry and addressed violent encounters between workers and patients. Overall, the research designs employed were weak and the results inconclusive. None used experimental designs.
Conclusions: The lack of rigorous research to assess administrative and behavioral measures to address workplace violence represents a significant gap. Intervention research needs to draw on appropriate theoretical and conceptual frameworks, address the multiple contexts in which violence occurs, and employ strong evaluation research designs, including attention to process, impact, and outcome measures.