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A Refuge No More : Where the Workplace Danger Really Lies

August 30, 1994|SHARI ROAN

No workplace has the notoriety of the U.S. Postal Service when it comes to on-the-job violence. Several tragic shootings, beginning with the 1986 Edmond, Okla., massacre and, more recently, the 1993 deadly rampage of former Dana Point postal worker Mark Richard Hilbun, are responsible for that reputation.

Yet studies show that the Postal Service has a slightly below-average homicide rate: .6 worker homicides per 100,000 employees, compared to the national workplace murder rate of .7 per 100,000. Homicide rates are highest in the retail industry--2,787 workers were murdered at work in the 1980s--and are also higher than average among public service occupations and taxi drivers, says psychologist Michael R. Mantell.

Generally, however, the workplace is still a safe place. "More than half of all people spend more than half of their time at work. But only 8% of violent behavior takes place there," psychologist Ralph Catalano says.

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