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.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.