Unfortunately, the shocking lethality of the Emcore Building shooting spree in Albuquerque July 12 was a fairly typical workplace shooting, according to updated U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) workplace fatalities data.
I know this is true -- I deal with it on a weekly basis when I receive telephone calls from heartbroken employers who've lost employees to violence. Or when I work with employers working desperately trying to prevent violence from happening to an employee at the hands of a current or former partner as I have been this week.
While most - but not all - workplace homicides involve firearms and occur during robberies; men are more likely to be killed in robbery-related shootings.
But women are much more likely to be targeted when workplace shootings involve co-workers or other individuals who know the victims, BLS data show. Relatives and personal acquaintances are responsible for only 4 percent of workplace homicides of men, but represent 28 percent of women’s murders in the workplace.
And these relatives or personal acquaintances? They are overwhelmingly a current or former partner of the victim.
The U.S. saw 30 mass workplace shootings in 2008, the most recent year for which complete BLS statistics are available, involving 67 homicides and seven suicides. On average, two people die in workplace shootings, the BLS reports.
Most, but not all, workplace homicides involve firearms; 80 percent of workplace killings involve a gun, BLS data show. Between 2004 and 2008, the U.S. saw an average of 564 workplace homicides each year. The 526 workplace homicides nationwide in 2008 represented 10 percent of all workplace fatalities.
Nationwide, the U.S. saw 421 fatal workplace shootings recorded in 2008, representing 8 percent of all workplace fatalities, according to BLS data.
Retail stores are the most frequent site of such violence, accounting for 24 percent of fatal shootings, followed by hotels, which represent 17 percent of fatal attacks, according to the BLS website. Government offices are the third most frequent setting for employee violence, with 14 percent of fatal attacks, according to the BLS.
Employees and former employees committed 12 percent of workplace shootings in 2008.
This is incredibly sad...because these facts don't represent the faces and the names of the precious people whose lives are lost...or their families. But I hope the facts are helpful in understanding this isn't just "someone else's issue." And that it can...and should..be prevented.
For help information and resources for dealing with domestic violence as a workplace issue, please visit our website at www.caepv.org.