Workplace violence at government sites

Am J Ind Med. 1998 May;33(5):485-92. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(199805)33:5<485::aid-ajim8>;2-r.


A government agency and its contractors employing nearly 96,000 workers throughout the country was surveyed for documented incidents of violence in the workplace. Thirty-five occupational medicine and related professionals (36% of those surveyed) from 27 locations returned the questionnaire. Of the responders, 20 individuals reported 74 incidents of workplace violence, with nearly 30% of these occurrences involving weapons, including 11 with guns. In a companion survey of human resource departments from 28 locations, there were 16 responders (57% of those surveyed) with 13 of them documenting 96 additional incidents. No duplicate reporting of the same event occurred between the two surveys. Approximately 70% of the agency workers were employed in locations covered by the 51 responders. Although the data are limited, the number of incidents and level of violence appear to be increasing over time. Of the 108 incidents for which time of occurrence was known, 32 were defined as "very serious," which included physical assault, threat or assault with a weapon, murder, suicide, or stalking. Verbal threats, verbal assaults, and vandalism were defined as "serious" incidents. A Cochran-Armitage trend test for an increasing proportion over time of "very serious" vs. "serious" events was statistically significant, with a P-value of 0.026.

MeSH terms

  • Government Agencies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Health*
  • United States
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Workplace