Workplace violence affects more than two million workers in the United States every year and accounts for about 20 percent of all violent crime. That’s according to “Preventing Gun Violence in the Workplace,” a Connecting Research in Security to Practice (CRISP) Report commissioned by the ASIS Foundation. The report also finds that even though most workplace violence is not fatal, an average of 500 homicides occur in U.S. workplaces each year, at a cost of $800,000 for each death.
“This report addresses the problem of gun violence in the workplace and strategies to prevent it,” says Martin Gill, chair of the ASIS Foundation Research Council. Its geographic focus is the United States because of the unique protections the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives to the possession and carrying of firearms.
“More than three-quarters of workplace homicides are committed with guns,” author Dana Loomis writes. “About two-thirds of workplace homicides are related to robbery; the remainder result from conflicts between workers and clients, coworkers, acquaintances or family members.”
The report begins with a description of the broad problem of workplace violence and then discusses factors contributing to gun violence in the workplace, responses to the problem, challenges to those responses, and research on the effectiveness of various responses. Finally, specific actions are recommended along with a summary of future research needs.
While specific information about how to prevent gun violence on the job is scarce, a comprehensive, written policy prohibiting weapons in the workplace is an essential part of an employer’s violence-prevention plan, Loomis concludes. Research suggests that workplaces that prohibit weapons are significantly less likely to experience a worker homicide than workplaces that allow guns.
To download a copy of the CRISP Report “Preventing Gun Violence in the Workplace,” go to http://www.asisonline.org/foundation/guns.pdf.
About the Author Dana Loomis is a professor of environmental and occupational health and director of the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada, Reno. He holds a doctoral degree in epidemiology and a master’s degree in environmental sciences and engineering from the University of North Carolina. He has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and published key papers evaluating workplace violence prevention measures.
About the CRISP Reports The CRISP—Connecting Research in Security to Practice—Reports are a series of white papers on subjects that impact the security industry. Each of the reports explores issues of topical and practical concerns to security professionals. Additional CRISP Reports released in 2008 include “Strategies to Detect and Prevent Workplace Dishonesty” and “Lost Laptops = Lost Data: Measuring Costs, Managing Threats.”