Workplace violence among Pennsylvania education workers: differences among occupations

J Safety Res. 2013 Feb;44:65-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2012.09.006. Epub 2012 Nov 20.


Problem: The purpose of this study was to measure the prevalence and characteristics of physical and non-physical WPV in a state-based cohort of education workers.

Method: A sample of 6,450 workers was drawn using de-identified union membership lists, stratified on gender, occupation, and school location. A cross-sectional survey was mailed to participants.

Results: An estimated 7.8% (95%CI=6.6-9.1) of education workers were physically assaulted and 28.9% (95%CI=26.4-31.5) experienced a non-physical WPV event during the 2009-2010 school year. Special education teachers were significantly more likely to be physically assaulted and experience a non-physical WPV event compared to general education teachers (Prevalence Rate Ratio=3.6, 95% 2.4-5.5; PRR=1.4, 95%CI=1.1-1.8).

Discussion: Special education teachers were at the highest risk for both physical and non-physical WPV. If not already present, schools should consider implementing comprehensive WPV prevention programs for their employees.

Impact on industry: Special education teachers have unique workplace hazards. Strategies that protect the special education teacher, while still protecting the special education student should be considered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Education, Special / statistics & numerical data*
  • Faculty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupations / classification
  • Pennsylvania / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk
  • Schools / statistics & numerical data
  • Workforce
  • Workplace Violence / prevention & control
  • Workplace Violence / statistics & numerical data*