About 20 percent of Americans who died from injuries connected to work last year were victims of violence, according to a preliminary report by the U.S. Labor Department officials. Men and older workers were among the most likely to die in violent workplace-related episodes in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the country.

Workers’ compensation benefits paid to spouses, children, parents or other relatives following an employee’s death vary from state to state. A specialized attorney can explain how Wisconsin benefits differ for victims injured by violence and families who’ve lost a loved one to a violent act.

According to last year’s Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, every fifth workplace fatality was connected to violence. Seventeen percent of all deaths on the job in 2011 were caused by self-inflicted wounds, injuries caused by another person or — in about three dozen cases — an animal.

Violence claimed the lives of 780 workers last year with nearly 460 homicides and more than 240 suicides. The overwhelming majority — 680 victims — were men. Almost 550 of those who died were not self-employed. Workers in the 45-to-54 age group were more likely than younger employees to die by violence.

Violent deaths among females on the job were far less common than among male counterparts. Forty percent of women’s work-related deaths by violence were at the hands of someone they knew well, usually an ex-lover or former spouse.

Robbers were responsible for 22 percent of violent workplace deaths among females and over 33 percent of male employee deaths.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that violent acts injure or kill about two million employees annually. The federal definition of workplace violence includes acts, occurring at or away from a job site, that range from threats to murder.

OSHA considers violence to be “one of the leading causes” of workplace fatalities. A complete report including all reasons for 2011 occupational fatalities will be available next spring.

Source: esrcheck.com, “Workplace Violence Accounts for Nearly One in Every Five Fatal Work Injuries in US,” Tom Ahearn, Nov. 15, 2012