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HSB Survey Shows a Third of Small Businesses Experience Workplace Violence


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    • Workers face serious threats or injuries
    • Four in ten managers believe the problem is getting worse
    • 91 percent say violence can happen in any industry
    • Workers are anxious about their safety and security

    Businesses Worry COVID-19 Could Increase Workplace Violence

    Workplace violence has occurred at one-third of small businesses, HSB reported today on the results of a survey of owners and managers, and many worry the problem is getting worse.

    The HSB poll by Zogby Analytics found 34 percent of the small and mid-size businesses responding had experienced at least one serious employee threat or violent incident.

    Workplace violence is increasing, according to 31 percent of the business representatives, while 41 percent believe the consequences are becoming more severe, in terms of lower employee morale, retention, lost productivity, and lost sales and profits.

    Half of the business managers think workplace violence is random and 40 percent expect the stress and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic will make violent incidents more likely in the future.

    Workplace Violence Targets Any Type of Business

    Owners, managers and executives of small to mid-size companies were polled for HSB, part of Munich Re, and a multiline insurer of businesses and other employers.

    Workplace violence was defined as the threat of physical harm when there was the presence of a weapon, or the use of force that caused a serious physical injury to employees, executives or guests.

    An overwhelming majority of the business representatives, 91 percent, said workplace violence could happen in any industry and 31 percent were concerned it could happen at their own company.

    Their employees also worry. One-third (32 percent) of the companies said employees expressed fears about workplace violence, were concerned about security or reported they felt threatened (34 percent) by customers, co-workers, visitors, or the public during working hours.

    Most Businesses Fire Employees Who Make Threats

    Half of the business representatives said an employee of their company who made a threat at work would be terminated immediately. Others said offenders would be suspended, put on probation, reassigned, or referred to voluntary or mandatory counseling.

    The most valuable services when responding to workplace violence were counseling for affected employees, guests and contractors, and site security assessments, they said.

    In half the cases of workplace threats or violence, the companies said their business reputations were damaged, most often for three to six months. Three-quarters of the businesses that experienced workplace violence reported the incidents to police.


    Note for the editorial staff

    For further questions please contact
    Dennis Milewski
    Dennis Milewski
    Media Relations, HSB


    Survey Methodology - Zogby Analytics surveyed 405 business decision makers online for HSB about their experiences and attitudes on workplace violence. They included administrators for technology services, manufacturers, professional, legal and financial offices, restaurants, retailers, construction, non-profits, and other organizations. The results were reported in November 2020. Based on a confidence level of 95 percent, the margin for error is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. This means that all other things being equal, the identical survey would have results within the margin of error 95 times out of 100

    HSB, part of Munich Re, is a multi-line specialty insurer and provider of inspection, risk management and IoT technology services. HSB insurance offerings include equipment breakdown, cyber risk, specialty liability and other coverages. HSB blends its engineering expertise, technology and data to craft inventive insurance and service solutions for existing and emerging risks posed by technological change. Throughout its 150-year history HSB’s mission has been to help clients prevent loss, advance sustainable use of energy and build deeper relationships that benefit business, public institutions and consumers. HSB holds A.M. Best Company’s highest financial rating, A++ (Superior). Connect with HSB on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook.

    Munich Re is one of the world’s leading providers of reinsurance, primary insurance and insurance-related risk solutions. The group consists of the reinsurance and ERGO business segments, as well as the capital investment company MEAG. Munich Re is globally active and operates in all lines of the insurance business. Since it was founded in 1880, Munich Re has been known for its unrivalled risk-related expertise and its sound financial position. It offers customers financial protection when faced with exceptional levels of damage – from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake through to the 2019 Pacific typhoon season. Munich Re possesses outstanding innovative strength, which enables it to also provide coverage for extraordinary risks such as rocket launches, renewable energies, cyberattacks, or pandemics. The company is playing a key role in driving forward the digital transformation of the insurance industry, and in doing so has further expanded its ability to assess risks and the range of services that it offers. Its tailor-made solutions and close proximity to its customers make Munich Re one of the world’s most sought-after risk partners for businesses, institutions, and private individuals.

    Zogby Analytics is an international research firm, providing clients with information and knowledge critical for making informed strategic decisions since 1984. The firm conducts multi-phased opinion research with state-of-the-art opinion research capabilities and objective analysis and consultation for banking and financial services institutions, insurance companies, hospitals and medical centers, retailers and developers, religious institutions, cultural organizations, colleges and universities, IT companies and federal agencies.

    Hartford, Connecticut, July 7, 2021

    The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company
    One State Street
    P.O. Box 5024
    Hartford, Connecticut 06102-5024
    United States