Workplace Homicides Down Dramatically
Cato, Jason, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Incidents of workplace homicides -- including employee-on- employee violence -- are down dramatically from the "going postal" days of two decades ago, but the cases still attract widespread attention when they do happen, experts say.
"Those incidents are fairly rare," said Patricia Kluss, a psychiatry professor at the University of Pittsburgh and director of Standing Firm, an organization focused on ending partner violence in the workplace. "But when they do happen, they have a huge tsunami of consequences."
Those include emotional tolls on the victim and other employees as well as costs to the business.
On Friday, a disgruntled former employee of a New York City business shot and killed a former co-worker near the Empire State Building, then was killed by police in a shootout that injured nine bystanders.
Western Pennsylvania has seen a few cases of employee-related workplace homicides in the past five years, including a February incident in which armored car guard Michael Haines was shot and killed as part of a $2 million heist. His partner, Kenneth Konias Jr., is charged in the slaying.
A worker at a welding business in North Strabane, Washington County, in February 2011 fatally shot another employee who tried to break up an altercation. In 2007, a retired state trooper who was working as a safety director for a Westmoreland County transportation company was fatally shot in Ohio after firing a company employee.
From 1997 to 2010, 8,666 people were murdered at work in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Robbers and other assailants accounted for three out of four of those killings. Co-workers or former co-workers accounted for just more than one in 10 workplace homicides over that span.
"The 'postal' cases from past years are more known than deaths from robberies and other things," said Steve Pegula, an economist with the bureau. …