Type 2 cases typically involve assaults on an employee by a customer, patient, or someone else receiving a service. In general, the violent acts occur as workers are performing their normal tasks. In some occupations, dealing with dangerous people is inherent in the job, as in the case of a police officer, correctional officer, security officer, or mental health worker. For other occupations, violent reactions by a customer or client are unpredictable, triggered by an argument, anger at the quality of service or denial of service, or some other precipitating event.

Employees experiencing the largest number of Type

2 assaults are those in healthcare occupations – nurses in particular, as well as doctors, and aides, particularly those who deal with psychiatric patients; members of emergency medical response teams; and hospital employees working in admissions, emergency rooms, and crisis or acute care units.

Type 3 and type 4 violence are incidents involving violence by past or present employees and acts committed by domestic abusers or arising from other personal relationships that follow an employee into the workplace. Violence in these categories is no less or more dangerous or damaging than any other violent act. But when the violence comes from an employee or someone close to an employee, there is much greater chance that some warning sign will have reached the employer in the form of observable behavior.

That knowledge, along with the appropriate prevention programs, can at the very least mitigate the potential for violence or prevent it altogether.