Work Can Kill You_04

Murder Is the Fourth Leading Cause of Death in the Workplace

This morning, a FedEx employee entered his workplace and shot six co-workers before turning the gun on himself. And according to new government data, murder at work is not as uncommon as you'd think

At approximately 5:45 this morning, an unnamed FedEx employee arrived at a warehouse in Kennesaw, Georgia, and fired two shots at the back of the building before he entered and began shooting at his co-workers. The facility, located 25 miles north of Atlanta, was put on lockdown as police arrived on the scene. When first responders combed the building, they found six people injured, one critically, and the body of the shooter, who had turned the gun on himself.

While gun-related deaths are not an unusual phenomenon in the U.S., recent data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that scenes like those at the Georgia FedEx facility are also nothing new. In fact, a staggering 10% of all fatal injuries in the workplace result from homicide. According to the BLS report, there were 475 murders in 2012—up 12 from the previous year—which makes homicide the fourth most common cause of death at work.

Shootings accounted for 381 of the 475 homicides, with sectors including sales, retail and protective services leading the tally. Statistics also show that women are overrepresented. Though men account for 76% of all workplace deaths, intentional or accidental, female employees make up 75% of all murders.

Early reports indicate that this morning’s shooting stemmed from an incident last Friday, when the gunman was denied his request for a day off. “Me and another employer were talking about him and how he requested to take off Saturday,” said co-worker Collin Harrison. “But his manager told him no. He took off anyway, and he didn’t show up this morning. We thought maybe he just quit.”

Harrison adds that some of the managers are “rude” and that it was only a matter of time before someone snapped. “I tell people on my other shift, one of these days a manager is gonna say that one thing to that one person and this is gonna set them off, and they gonna come in here and start shooting, and that happened today,” he said. “It’s crazy, man. I’m not surprised that this happened. I’m just surprised I saw it happen.”

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