Violence in the Workplace - What are the Types of Workplace Violence?

Published: January 8, 2022


Workplace violence is a serious issue that can occur in any field of work. You may think of physical assault whenever you hear workplace violence. However, it is workplace violence anytime someone is abused, intimidated, threatened, or assaulted in their work. This means that it can range from verbal abuse to homicide.

In recent years, a Walmart employee was suspended from work. As the store was opening the following morning, this employee shot at his coworkers as they were entering the store. He also set part of the store on fire. Two of the workers were killed in the shooting.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average there are over 400 workplace homicides and over 40,000 nonfatal assaults and intentional injuries at workplaces.

OSHA has several resources and standards for workplace violence. You should check them out and be aware of the standards.

Types of Workplace Violence

There are four different types of workplace violence.

Criminal Intent. The offender does not have a legitimate business relationship with the workplace and usually enters the workplace to commit theft or another criminal act. The workers most at risk for this type of violence are those that exchange cash, work at late hours, or work alone.

Customer/client. The offender is the customer or client of the workplace or of the victim. The offender can be a current or former customer, patient, passenger, suspect, or prisoner. The workers most at risk for this type of violence are those in the healthcare and social services.

Coworker. The offender has had some sort of employment in the workplace. Typically, the offender is or was an employee, supervisor, or manager. The workers most at risk for this type of violence are managers and supervisors.

Personal Relationship. The offender has had or is in a personal relationship with an employee in a workplace. Most of the time, the offender is not an employee at that workplace. The workers most at risk for this type of violence are women in the relationship and those that attempt to separate the couple.

For more information and training on workplace violence, check out the Hard Hat Training Series. Taking their training will help you predict, prevent, and respond better to violence in the workplace.

Good luck and stay safe!