Workplace violence has been on the rise for more than a decade, and in some industries, it has become so common that employees feel unsafe and choose to leave the workplace.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, since 2014 the American workforce has experienced more than 1 million violent crimes every year. Fatal occupational injuries due to violence have increased by 11.6% since 2022. Meanwhile, almost one in four employees has witnessed workplace violence happening to another employee in the last five years, and 12% reported having been the target of workplace violence themselves.

But physical violence isn’t the only threat. Workplace psychological violence, such as bullying, has also been on the increase. Almost 50 million Americans have reported being bullied at work. Bullying can take on many forms, including cruel, vindictive and humiliating behaviors, undermining individuals in group settings, shouting and throwing things, constant criticism and harassment.

Both physical and psychological violence takes a toll on its victims, families and coworkers, often impacting long-term health and inflicting long-lasting emotional trauma. It also results in significant losses in productivity, especially due to missed workdays. 

Two industries that have been particularly hard-hit by violence and harassment in recent years, healthcare and education, are experiencing record labor shortages because employees don’t feel safe. For example, a 2021 study found that almost half of U.S. teachers were interested in quitting or transferring over concerns about violence against educators.

Workplace Violence Prevention

April is Workplace Violence Prevention Month and as we all strive to make our businesses safer for our most valuable assets, our employees, it is important to consider how we can ensure that our work environments are not hostile or intimidating for our workforce.

Did you know that only 44% of workers feel that their employers promote a speak-up culture, where employees can report misconduct without fear of retaliation? That’s an alarming statistic and an issue that workplaces need to resolve if we want to make employees feel safe. To address both physical and psychological violence, we need to be able to talk about it.

Strong workplace safety policies that clearly state a lack of tolerance for physical violence, bullying or harassment are also critical to any prevention efforts. An effective workplace violence prevention program should empower employees and businesses to take preventive measures and to react quickly when in imminent danger.

Just as important, are training and education. While most organizations (70%) offer training around workplace violence and harassment, there is still a large gap of employers who do not. A strong training program raises awareness of both what harassment is and the role employees can play in helping to create a safe and supportive work environment for all, and building a workplace culture of mutual respect.

Did you know that TSS, Inc. offers an excellent Workplace Harassment Training Program?   Requirements for this training differ by state, but regardless, it is highly recommended that all of your employees take it to have an understanding of harassment, how to help prevent it, and how to go about reporting it. For more information on this training, which we offer both online and as an on-site presentation (in select areas), contact your local TSS office, or visit