Extent of the Problem

Incidence rates per 10,000 full-time workers for nonfatal assaults and violent acts by industry in 2015. Overall Private Industry: 1.7, Hospitals: 8.5, Social Assistance: 7.6, Nursing and Residential Care Facilities: 21.4.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics,
U.S. Department of Labor (BLS, 2016)

Statistics about workplace violence are often confusing and difficult to reconcile due to the different criteria and sampling methodologies used by the investigating agencies. Regardless of these differences, most studies show that health care workers, particularly nurses, are at a far higher risk of workplace violence compared to most other professions. Examples include:

  • From 2006 to 2015 there were 186 workplace homicides in the health care and social assistance industry within the private sector (BLS, 2016).
  • In 2015, health care and social assistance workers overall had an incidence rate of 8.0 (out of 10,000 full-time workers) for injuries resulting from assaults and violent acts by other persons. The rate for nursing and personal care facility workers was 21.4 (BLS, 2016).
  • Data obtained from nurses (RNs/LPNs) in a major population-based study showed a rate of physical assaults at 13.2 per 100 nurses per year and at a rate of 38.8 per 100 nurses per year for non-physical violent events (threat, sexual harassment, verbal abuse) (Nachreiner, N.M. et al., 2007).
Page last reviewed: February 7, 2020