Homicide Is a Leading Cause of Death at Work

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Is the threat enough to warrant training workers in case of an attack?

These statistics in an “On the Job” column by Anita Bruzzese in USA Today got our attention:

  • Homicide is the fourth leading cause of workplace death in the U.S., according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
  • A total of 506 people were the victims of workplace homicides in 2010.
  • For women, homicide is the No. 1 cause of workplace death.

We bring this information to you close to the first anniversary of the Newtown shootings, which prompted an nearly overwhelming public demand for background checks for sales at gun shows and via the Internet. The demand wasn’t strong enough to mobilize most in Congress to comply with the public’s will. The fight for more gun control has moved to statehouses, Reuters reports.

Spending on federal lobbying for gun control rose to $1.8 million this year, a ninefold increase from the year before, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

But that was still far behind gun-rights lobbying, whose spending more than doubled, to almost $13 million.

So, doesn’t it make sense that workplaces provide training on how to respond if someone comes there looking to harm others? It seems almost too terrible to think about, but Bruzzese’s statistics inform us that the threat is very real.

Bruzzese’s column focuses on Larry Yatch, a former Navy Seal whose Minneapolis company offers such training. Anticipating violence doesn’t encourage a workplace incident, he told her. It’s best to prepare.

“While some may balk at the idea of planning for violence, he points out that fear often paralyzes workers during a shooting or causes them to make bad decisions that can risk their lives,” Bruzzese writes.

Here’s what people can learn, she says:

  • How to identify threats. For instance, if someone at work has a former spouse who’s threatened violence, management should be told.
  • How to protect lives. Obstacles like barricades behind locked doors increase the chance of survival.
  • How to tackle. “There’s always a chance that someone might get hurt, but it’s a guarantee if you do nothing,” Yatch told Bruzzese.

Does her information surprise you? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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