A horrific scene unfolded in Kansas recently, where a workplace shooting resulted in four deaths and 14 injuries at a manufacturing plant near Wichita. The gunman, an employee at the plant, was eventually shot and killed by a police officer.
Authorities speculate it may have had something to do with the fact the gunman had been served an order of protection by his former girlfriend just hours before the rampage. The tragic incident draws attention once again to the serious problem of workplace violence. This was the fourth workplace shooting in the last 12 months.
A report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals that between 2006 to 2010, an average of more than 550 workers a year were killed in work-related homicides.
Of those, 77 were multiple-fatality homicides in which two or more workers were killed. That figure included eight instances in which the assailant committed suicide.
In stark contrast to domestic-related homicides, those who are murdered at work are overwhelmingly male. The agency reported 4 out of 5 workplace violence victims were men. In nearly three-fourths of those cases, the motive was robbery.
Workplace homicide assailants with no known personal relationship to the victims also account for nearly two-thirds of workplace killings.
Some of the other workplace shootings that have resulted in multiple fatalities in recent years:
- The San Bernadino terrorist shooting in California, where 14 were killed and 22 injured at a holiday office party in December 2015.
- The fatal shooting of a television news reporter and photographer in Virginia in April of last year by a former disgruntled employee who committed the crime in the midst of a live shot. The assailant later fatally shot himself.
- In February 2015, a worker at an armed security firm shot a co-worker inside the New Jersey business before killing himself.
- That same month, a trucker in South Dakota quarreled with a supervisor at a manufacturing company over a delivery before leaving the facility, returning with a gun and fatally shooting the supervisor, wounding two others and then killing himself.
- In September 2014, a former spa worker shot a co-worker in Alabama after being fired.
- Also that same month in another Alabama city, a fired UPS worker opened fire on the facility, killing two supervisors before turning the gun on himself.
- In August 2014, a recently-demoted executive in Chicago fatally shot the company’s CEO before killing himself.
The BLS reported that nearly 80 percent of all workplace homicides, as well as more than 400 workplace injuries, involve the use of firearms. The vast majority of these occur in private-sector industries.
Shortly after the incident in Kansas, Republican Senator Forrest Knox spoke out deriding a state law that allows companies to restrict the presence of firearms on their property. Knox, who has been a staunch gun rights advocates, for this measure, saying innocent victims might have been able to defend themselves had this law not been in place. Although it is legal for people to carry weapons in public buildings in that state, private property owners still have the right to restrict weapons on the premises.
Knox introduced a measure last month that is successfully moving through the state senate which would allow workers to carry concealed weapons anytime they go off site as part of their job.
Workers’ compensation law allows employees injured or survivors of those killed in workplace violence to receive compensation from the company, so long as the incident arose out of and occurred in the course and scope of employment.
If you have been injured at work, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.
Workplace shootings: Average 551 workers die each year, Feb. 25, 2016, By Lisa Gutierrez, Raleigh News & Observer
More Blog Entries:
Gill v. City of Charleston – Pre-Existing Injuries, Feb. 25, 2016, Rock Hill Workers’ Compensation Attorney Blog