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Workplace violence rare but can be costly for businesses

Workplace violence is a rare event, but it can have costly impacts on organizations, according to a study released in January by NCCI Holdings Inc., a Boca Raton, Fla.-based workers compensation ratings and research agency.

Homicides account for 11% of workplace deaths, and nonfatal assaults account for less than 2% of total injuries and illnesses that result in lost work time, according to NCCI.

The agency said most workplace assaults are committed by health care patients. However, most workplace homicides involve retail and service workers who are robbery victims, such as service station attendants, taxi drivers and barbers.

While crime-related injuries only account for 1.1% of lost-time workers comp claims, such claims tend to have higher severity rates than other types of injuries, such as falls or muscle strains, NCCI said.

Kim Brown, senior workers compensation consultant for Lockton Cos. L.L.C. in Kansas City, Mo., said PTSD claims for workers who experience or directly witness workplace violence tend to be covered by workers comp in most jurisdictions.

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