Workplace violence

Workers exposed to violence
on the job in Canada, study finds

A new Statistics Canada study finds that almost 20 per cent of all incidents of violent victimization, including physical assault, sexual assault and robbery occurred while the victim was at work in 2004.

The study: Criminal Victimization in the Workplace, was the first such study conducted in Canada, and used self-reported data from 24,000 households that took part in the General Social Survey. The report’s authors say the vast majority of these workplace incidents, 71 per cent, were classified as physical assaults.

Other findings include:

• men and women were just as likely to have reported workplace violence, but men were more likely to be injured by the encounter, (27 per cent for men and 17 per cent for women);

• the violent acts were much more common in certain industries, and one-third of all workplace violence involved someone working in social assistance or health care services such as hospitals, nursing or residential care facilities. Rates were also higher than average in industries like accommodation and food services, retail or wholesale trade and education;

• Men were much more likely to report violent workplace incidents to the police, 57 per cent, compared to only 20 per cent for women; and

• In almost 90 per cent of cases, a worker subjected to violence on the job told a co-worker about the incident.