The 6 most Dangerous Occupations

Although workplace violence can happen to anyone, some occupations have higher rates of violence. According to the Office for Victims of Crime (2018)[1], the top 6 most dangerous occupations are:


  1. Law enforcement
  2. Mental health
  3. Transportation
  4. Retail sales
  5. Medical
  6. Education


  1. Law enforcement: About 56% of workplace violence against government employees is committed against those working in law enforcement and security.[2]

Workplace violence is the #1 cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among correctional officers. [3]


  1. Mental health: The rate of workplace violence for mental health professionals is four times higher than the overall rate for all professions.


  1. Transportation: this includes bus and taxi drivers and other transportation occupations. The workplace violence rate for these professions is 2.3 times higher than the overall rate for all professions.


  1. Retail sales: Bartenders have the highest workplace violence rate of all retail sales occupations; their rate is comparable to mental health professions.

More than half of all workplace homicides happen in retail or service settings such as conveniences stores, taxi services, and gas stations.


  1. Medical: this includes physicians, nurses, technicians and other medical occupations. Those who work in healthcare are four times more likely to be victimize than workers in private industry[4]

Nurse aides working in nursing homes with dementia patients are at the greatest risk for assault. The majority of such workers (59%) reports being assaulted once a week, and 16% report suffering assaults on a daily basis.[5]


  1. Education: Those working in technical or industrial schools present the highest rates of workplace violence in the teaching professions. School shootings are another great concern for educators. In In 2018 there were 24 school shootings with injuries or deaths in the U.S. and 114 people were killed or injured. Among those who were killed, a quarter were school employees. [6]




[1] Office for Victims of Crime. (2018). Workplace violence. 2018 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Resource Guide: Crime and victimization fact sheets.

[2] Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2013). Workplace violence against government employees, 1994-2011. Retrieved from

[3] Konda, S., Reichard, A., Tiesman, H. (2012). Occupational injuries among U.S. correctional officers, 1999-2008. Journal of Safety Research. 43(3).


[4] The Joint Commission. (2018). Physical and verbal violence against health care workers. Sentinel Event Alert. 59. Retrieved from

[5] Gates, D. (2004). The epidemic of violence against healthcare workers. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 61.

[6] Education Week. (2018). The school shootings of 2018: What’s behind the numbers. Retrieved from