Report: Violence on the job is global problemIn this story:
July 20, 1998
Web posted at: 11:09 a.m. EDT (1509 GMT)
GENEVA (CNN) -- Violence at the workplace, including homicide, sexual harassment and mobbing, is a global problem that transcends the boundaries of a particular country, work setting or occupation group, a U.N. report said Monday.
The "Violence at Work" report by the Geneva-based International Labor Organization admits that comparisons between different countries are difficult because of a lack of statistics. For their report, researchers drew on previous studies, including a wide-ranging 1996 report that drew information from 32 countries on workers' perceptions of how they were treated on the job.
Despite this caveat, the ILO said its newly released report was the "most extensive worldwide survey of violence in the workplace." And co-author Vittorio Di Martino said that violence at work has become a global concern and may include psychological as well as physical violence.
What causes violence at work?
"Violence stems from a combination of causes," the ILO report concluded.
Researchers found that the individual, the work environment, the conditions of work and the way in which co-workers interact may all contribute to the violent acts.
The way customers or clients interact with workers and the interaction between managers and workers may also be a contributing factor, according to the study.
"We reject the idea that the sole reasons for workplace violence stem from the individual," Di Martino said. "We will never succeed in either preventing further violence or dealing with violence after it occurs by moving solely on that premise."
Cost of violence
Employers bear the direct cost of lost work and improved security measures, the report said.
In the United States, for example, the cost of workplace violence to employers amounted to more than $4 billion in 1992, according to a survey conducted by the National Safe Workplace Institute.
In Germany, the direct cost of psychological violence in an enterprise of 1,000 workers has been estimated at $112,000 per year, along with $56,000 in indirect costs.
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