Workplace violence in healthcare is an important public health issue and a growing concern. Workplace violence and healthcare can be defined in different ways. This analysis focuses on intentional injuries1 caused by another person to workers in the private healthcare and social assistance industry2 and will not look at healthcare related occupations.3
In 2018, the private ownership all-worker incidence rate for nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work resulting from intentional injury by other person in the private healthcare and social assistance industry was 10.4 per 10,000 full-time workers, compared to the all-worker incidence rate of 2.1. The health care and social service industries experience the highest rates of injuries caused by workplace violence and are 5 times as likely to suffer a workplace violence injury than workers overall. Chart 1 shows how the incidence rate for workplace violence to healthcare workers has increased since 2011.
Workplace violence due to intentional injuries by other person in the private healthcare and social assistance industry accounted for 2 percent of the 900,380 total nonfatal occupational injuries or illness cases requiring days away from work in 2018.
Healthcare workers accounted for 73 percent of all nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses due to violence in 2018 (see chart 2). The industry’s number of total workplace violence has grown since 2011, the first year the new OIICS 2.01 event classification was used. You can find the latest data on the types of events and industry make-up of nonfatal cases using resource table 4, https://www.bls.gov/iif/nonfatal-injuries-and-illnesses-tables.htm#dafw.
The healthcare and social assistance industry is made up of a mix of industry services. Table 1 gives a high level look at the components of the healthcare and social assistance industry, along with their respective incidence rates. If you would like to learn more about a specific sub-sector, the online profiles tool will create industry specific profiles detailing demographics, case circumstances, including event, and occupations for each industry.
|Private Industry||NAICS code||Incidence rate of nonfatal intentional injury by other person, per 10,000 full-time workers|
Health care and social assistance
Ambulatory health care services
Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals
Nursing and residential care facilities
Child day care services
Looking briefly at the public sector, in 2018 the incidence rate of intentional injury for nonfatal cases involving days away from work in the health care and social assistance was 13.9 per 10,000 full-time workers (1,050 cases) in local government, and 89.3 (4,850 cases) in state government. The all-worker incidence rate for cases involving days away from work for local government was 163.9 and for state government was 142.6.
From 2011 to 2018, there were 156 workplace homicides to private healthcare workers, averaging about 20 each year. The most common assailant in workplace homicides to healthcare workers was a relative or domestic partner of the injured worker (see Chart 3).
In 2018, workplace homicides in the private healthcare and social assistance industry accounted for 4 percent of the total workplace homicides. For total fatal cases, homicides to healthcare workers made up less than 1 percent of the 5,250 workplace fatalities in 2018. For more information, see the data table for workplace homicides.
Hospital workers: an assessment of occupational injuries and illnesses: https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2017/article/pdf/hospital-workers-an-assessment-of-occupational-injuries-and-illnesses.pdf
Occupational injuries and illnesses among registered nurses: https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2018/article/occupational-injuries-and-illnesses-among-registered-nurses.htm
Hospital workers suffered 294,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2014: https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/hospital-workers-suffered-294000-nonfatal-workplace-injuries-and-illnesses-in-2014.htm
A look at violence in the workplace against psychiatric aides and psychiatric technicians: https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2015/article/a-look-at-violence-in-the-workplace-against-psychiatric-aides-and-psychiatric-technicians.htm
Workplace Homicides: https://www.bls.gov/iif/factsheets/workplace-homicides-2017.htm
Workplace Safety and Health in the Health Care and Social Assistance Industry, 2003-07: https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/cwc/workplace-safety-and-health-in-the-health-care-and-social-assistance-industry-2003-07.pdf
For technical information and definitions, please see the BLS Handbook of Methods.
You can obtain data from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program by using the following tools: Create Customized Tables (Multiple Screens), Create Customized Tables (Single Screen), and the Online Profiles System. Additional tables and charts are on the IIF homepage and the IIF State page.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fatality data are from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Nonfatal injury and illness data are from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.
1 The BLS Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities (IIF) program has used the Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System (OIICS), version 2.01, when classifying Event or Exposure, Primary Source, Secondary Source, Nature, and Part of Body since 2011. More on OIICS 2.01 can be found here: https://www.bls.gov/iif/definitions/occupational-injuries-and-illnesses-classification-manual.htm. Event code 1* is the broad category of Violence and other injuries by persons or animals, with the sub categories of 11* (comprised of 111* Intentional injury by other person and 112* Self-inflicted injury—intentional), 12* Injury by person—unintentional or intent unknown, and 13* Animal and insect related incidents.
2 This fact sheet will use the private Healthcare and Social Assistance industry (North American Industry Classification System, NAICS 62*) when referring to healthcare workers unless otherwise noted. For 2009 to 2013 data, the IIF program used the 2007 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) to classify industry data. Since 2014, the IIF program has used the 2012 NAICS. More on NAICS can be found here: https://www.bls.gov/bls/naics.htm.
3 If you are interested in specific occupations, such as nurses; social workers; psychiatric, home health, and personal care aides, you may wish to explore nonfatal tables R12 and R100, create a customized table using online profiles, or view the fatal table detailed occupations by homicides. Since 2011, the IIF program has used the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system to classify occupation. More on SOC can be found here: https://www.bls.gov/soc/.