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Pennsylvania Workplace Violence

Posted by Tamara

Pennsylvania employers need to take steps to eliminate workplace violence. Over Labor Day weekend 2007, a 40-year-old waitress was stabbed to death by her estranged husband. The incident occurred in a Denny’s restaurant in Orlando, Florida. Several families who had just left Disney World witnessed the attack. Several witnesses and co-workers chased the attacker. He escaped by leaping over a nearby fence, leaving behind his shoes and the bloody knife.

Another tragic incident of violence in the workplace occurred early one morning on the 400-acre main campus of Delaware State University. Two students were shot and murdered near Memorial Hall, the sports arena. The campus was immediately locked down. The 1,700 students were informed of the incident, mostly via their cell phones, and were confined to their dorm rooms.

Several law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, aided the Dover police, and a suspect was arrested in the shooting.

On April 16, 2007, another tragic shooting took place. On the campus of Virginia Tech. an assailant killed two people in their dorm room, and then later trapped  nearly 50 people in a campus building by chaining the doors shut. He opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon, killing 32 students and staff and wounding 17 others. His final act was to turn his Glock on himself.

These incidents raised the public’s awareness of violence in the workplace, but fortunately, the incidents are on the decline. According the U. S. Department of Labor, violence on the job has decreased in Pennsylvania and across the country.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) confirms these finds in its annual report and states that the number of assaults and violent acts which resulted in death decreased from 792 in 2005 to 754 in 2006, a drop of 5% in just one year.

OSHA statistics report that 2007 experienced the lowest number of homicides in the workplace since the BLS began keeping records of these incidents. However, last year there was a slight increase in workplace homicides. According to the report, the rate has declined by 50% from 1994, the year with the highest rate of workplace homicides.

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