workplace violence

Most of the regulatory attention on workplace violence focuses on healthcare and social service workers. And for good reason. There are relatively few homicides resulting from patient (or family) assaults in health care and social services, but there are a huge number of serious — often career-ending — injuries, both physical and mental (from post-traumatic stress).

But close readers of the Weekly Toll, or news in general, will recognize the danger that retail, transportation and other workers face. (Check below for an incomplete list of recent assault-related fatalities in retail, transportation and other workplaces. Assaults that don’t result in fatalities are not listed and are rarely reported in the media. The Department of Justice reports that only 46% of nonfatal workplace violence against workers in retail sales occupations was reported to police in 2019.)

As we’ve reported before, OSHA is working very slowly on a standard that would protect healthcare and social service workers from workplace assaults.  The House of Representatives has also passed legislation that would require OSHA to issue a standard within two years of passage.

But what about others who work in retail (especially late at night), taxi and ride-sharing services and other jobs like those listed below? Workers who face risk factors like contact with the public, access to cash and working alone are at higher risk of robberies and workplace assaults.  21% of all workplace homicides occur in the sales and related occupations. 50 US gig workers murdered or killed on the job since 2017, according to a recent report from Gig Workers Rising.

Workers who face risk factors like contact with the public, access to cash and working alone are at higher risk of robberies and workplace assaults. 21% of all workplace homicides occur in the sales and related occupations. 50 US gig workers murdered or killed on the job since 2017.

What can be done to prevent these incidents? In the late 1990’s, OSHA published Recommendations for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs in Late-Night Retail Establishments, which was updated in 2010. Recommendations include not block visibility through windows, alarms systems (with response), security guards, not working alone, not resisting a robbery and only operating through bullet-proof windows.

NIOSH has a publication on prevent violence against taxi drivers. Recommendations include reducing cash on hand, security cameras bullet-resistant barriers, increasing light (and no tinted windows), panic alarms and tracking devices.

With no workplace violence standard, OSHA can only use the legally burdensome General Duty Clause to cite employers and, especially outside of healthcare, OSHA enforcement actions have been rare. The barriers are high. OSHA has to prove that the company recognizes the hazard, either because there have been previous incidents, or the problem is obvious (e.g. convenience stores operating in a dangerous neighborhood). And there has to be a “feasible means of abatement” — in other words some kind of accepted industry recommendations that the employer has failed to take.  In addition to the recommendations from OSHA and NIOSH, for example, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has also issued guidelines.


That may be changing. Earlier this month, OSHA proposed a $17,403 penalty, citing the operator of several Baton Rouge-area car wash, oil change, fueling, and convenience store locations after a workplace violence investigation into the stabbing of an assistant manager on Feb. 6, 2022. (The manager was treated and later released from the hospital.)

OSHA cited the B-Quik location on Greenwell Springs Road – owned and operated by Benny’s Car Wash & Oil Change – for failing to protect its workers from violence and for waiting15 days to report the worker’s hospitalization.

Federal workplace safety law requires employee hospitalizations to be reported within 24 hours.

Investigators determined that the assistant manager was behind the counter with two other employees when a customer entered the store carrying a knife and stabbed the assistant manager multiple times. No customers were inside the store at the time.

During its investigation, OSHA learned of several previous instances of violence at the store in the past year.

Established in 1951, Benny’s is a family-owned operator of nine car wash, oil change, fueling, and convenience store locations in the Baton Rouge area.

OSHA fined the company over $10,000 for the General Duty Clause violation, and $7,000 for failure to report the hospitalization within 24 hours. The company is appealing the violations.

One small OSHA citation is not going to change the world, but it does send a message out that violence against retail and transportation workers is a recognized hazard, there are measures that will reduce the risk, and that employers are required to implement measures to make their workplaces safe.

Unfortunately, OSHA did not issue a press release announcing this citation. In fact, although the company was cited in February, I only discovered it in an article published earlier this month. We need to see more of these enforcement actions. Many more. And they need to be well publicized.

One small OSHA citation is not going to change the world, but it does send a message out that violence against retail and transportation workers is a recognized hazard, there are measures that will reduce the risk, and that employers are required to implement measures to make their workplaces safe. 

Recent Workplace Violence Fatalities

Two juveniles in custody for killing Maryland gas station employee, police say

Prince Georges County, MD — Two juveniles, ages 15 and 12, are charged with killing a gas station employee in Maryland. Prince George’s County police were called to the scene around 4:40 a.m. on Thursday for a report of a stabbing. When officers arrived they found Isreal Akingbesote suffering from multiple stab wounds. The victim was taken to a hospital where he later died, FOX 5 DC reports. The following day police announced that they arrested and charged two boys, ages 15 and 12, with first-degree murder and assault in connection with the stabbing.

Uber driver killed while on duty in Prince George’s County

TEMPLE HILLS, Md. – A Montgomery County man was shot and killed in Prince George’s County while working as an Uber driver, police say. According to Prince George’s County Police, the incident happened Wednesday morning in the 5400 block of Chesterfield Drive in Temple Hills. Once at the scene, officers found a man who had been shot inside a car. Police say he was pronounced dead at the scene. READ MORE: Gas station employee killed during stabbing in Prince George’s Co. identified; $25K reward offered Investigators later identified the victim as Nesredin Esleiman, 55, of Silver Spring. According to police, Esleiman was working as an Uber driver at the time of the shooting.

McDonald’s worker shot in spat over cold french fries dies ― murder charges expected against gunman

Brooklyn, NY — The Brooklyn McDonald’s worker shot point-blank in a flap over cold french fries has died, police said Friday. Matthew Webb, 23, brain-dead following the Monday night shooting, had been on life support at Brookdale University Hospital. The suspect, Michael Morgan, 20, accused of shooting the fast-food worker in the face because he was angry about how the restaurant handled his mother’s fry order, is expected to be charged with murder.

Shootings at SoCal 7-Elevens Leave Clerk Dead, Others Injured

Brea, CA — An employee was killed in a shooting at a Brea 7-Eleven early Monday morning, and authorities believe the incident may be related to another that took place in La Habra the same day. Around 4:18 a.m. Monday, police arrived at the 7-Eleven convenience store on Lambert Road and North Brea Boulevard, after receiving a call about an employee that may have been struck by gunfire. When the officers arrived to the store, they found a male store clerk with a gunshot wound, injured as the result of a robbery turned deadly. That clerk, who has not yet been identified by police, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Man faces murder charge after woman working at Star convenience store killed during robbery

STAR, N.C. (WGHP) — A man is in custody after a woman working at a gas station in Star was killed during a robbery. On Sunday, the State Bureau of Investigation arrested James William Ward, 57, on charges of first-degree murder in the death of 53-year-old Laura Whitman and robbery. He received no bond. Star police say investigators believe Ward was the driver. They are still looking for the shooter. On June 25, Whitman was working her first shift at Quick Chek in Star. She previously worked at a Quick Chek in Candor but was transferred to the Star location recently. That night Whitman never made it home from her shift.

Mayonnaise dispute ends with deadly shooting of Atlanta Subway worker

ATLANTA, Ga. – A dispute over mayonnaise led to the deadly shooting of a Georgia Subway worker in front of her son. Officers responded to a downtown Atlanta Subway located inside a gas station around 6:30 p.m. Sunday. According to FOX 5 Atlanta, a Subway worker was killed, and a second employee was hospitalized after a customer opened fire inside the business. Restaurant owner Willie Glenn told reporters the shooting was over “too much mayonnaise” on the customer’s sandwich. Glenn said the customer complained about the mayo and then “decided to escalate the situation.” From there, according to Glenn, “all hell broke loose” when the customer shot the employees. Both employees had worked at the location for about a month. The woman who died was shot in front of her young son, who witnessed the shooting inside the store.

Safeway worker shot dead in clash with shopper,

San Jose, CA —  A 24-year-old Safeway employee died after being shot by a customer in an early-morning dispute Sunday, June 5, inside the San Jose supermarket, California police say. Screengrab from KTVU video A Safeway employee died after being shot by a customer in an early-morning dispute inside the San Jose supermarket, California police say. The employee died at the scene following the 3:35 a.m. shooting Sunday, June 5, in the 1500 block of Hamilton Avenue, San Jose police said in a news release.. Co-workers told KNTV the worker, identified by his family as Manuel Huizar Cornejo, 24, may have confronted someone stealing liquor at the 24-hour supermarket before being shot.

Employee killed in convenience store shooting, suspect at-large

STAR, N.C. — The State Bureau of Investigation is searching for the suspect in a convenience store shooting where one employee was killed Saturday night. According to the Star Police Department, officers were called to the Quik Chek in the 200 block of South Main Street just after 10 p.m. regarding the shooting. When officers arrived they found an employee of the store, 53-year-old Laura Whitman, dead as a result of gunshot wounds. Investigators said that a Black man walked into the store wearing a hood and mask, displayed a gun and jumped over the counter where the employee was standing. The suspect proceeded to shoot the cashier three times following an altercation. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Bodega employee fatally stabbed man in Harlem: sources

HARLEM, Manhattan, NY — A 35-year-old man died Friday night after being stabbed in a Manhattan bodega, police said. Jose Alba, 51, allegedly stabbed Austin Simon three times during the attack. He’s charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon. The attack took place about 11:07 p.m. When police arrived, they found Simon with several stab wounds. He was taken by EMS to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead. According to police sources, the Alba is an employee at that store. There was no information on what led to the altercation.

Delivery driver shot and killed in Port St. Lucie, was once a doctor in Haiti

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.– Robert Peigne, the food delivery driver who was shot and killed in Port St. Lucie on Wednesday, was once a doctor in Haiti, WPTV reports. Paigne was using his wife’s door dash account to deliver food while waiting to receive his U.S. medical license. Before coming to America, Peigne worked for years to help bring access to healthcare for the citizens of South East Haiti, according to his long-time friend Louise Lindenmeyr. Lindenmeyr worked with Peigne with his efforts in Haiti and told WPTV, “He was truly a gem.” The extreme increase in violence in the country caused Peigni and Lindenmeyr to flee to the United States.

DoorDash driver killed in Detroit during first day on the job

DETROIT, MI — A man on his first day as a DoorDash driver was shot and killed Saturday while delivering an order in Detroit. According to Fox 2 Detroit, Dajour Russ got out of his car to deliver an order in the 1700 block of Bagley around 8 p.m. when someone driving by opened fire at him. Russ was struck in the foot, but the driver circled back around and shot at Russ again, fatally striking him. A family member was with Russ for his first day on the job, but was not injured in the shooting. Police are working to create a description of the suspect and the vehicle they were in, but have not released any specifics.
recycling in the state’s northern city of Greer.

Three charged after NYPD releases video of brutal beatdown that killed NYC cabbie Kutin Gyimah

Queens, NY — Two men and a teenage girl turned themselves into police and were charged Thursday in connection with the brutal beating death of Queens taxi driver Kutin Gyimah as new video emerged of the deadly attack, police said. Austin Amos and Nickolas Porter, both 20, surrendered to cops at the 101st Precinct in Queens late Wednesday for allegedly skipping out on a taxi fare and fatally beating Gyimah after he chased after them for the money early Saturday. Porter was charged with gang assault and theft of service while Amos was hit with theft of service, assault, gang assault and manslaughter raps for allegedly delivering the final blow that killed Gyimah, a 52-year-old father of four.

Blake’s employee killed in Española robbery Tuesday

ESPAÑOLA, NM — A man in Northern New Mexico is suspected of at least nine armed robberies throughout the region in less than a two-week span, and a Blake’s Lotaburger employee was shot to death in the latest. On Tuesday night the suspect — identified as Ricky Martinez Jr., 31 — is said to have robbed the Blake’s on Paseo de Oñate in Española. Española police Chief Mizel Garcia confirmed an employee at the fast-food chain was shot and killed during the incident, and identified him as Cypress Garcia. The chief said Cypress Garcia was in his twenties.

High-rise apartment employee killed by tenant in outburst of anger

Atlanta, GA — A 60-year-old employee of a northeast Atlanta apartment tower was killed last week when she found herself on the receiving end of a tenant’s ire, according to a police report released Friday. Dahlaia Roberts, a senior community manager at the Cosby Spears Memorial Towers, was shot multiple times Aug. 4 at the high-rise on North Avenue and was pronounced dead at the scene. Her alleged killer, identified by police as 64-year-old Robert Coker, was found dead of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound in nearby Central Park in the Old Fourth Ward. Roberts, affectionately known as “Ms. Dee,” was a longtime employee and a much-beloved member of the Cosby Spears staff, her friend and coworker Alberta Saunders told the AJC. Saunders, who has worked as a nurse contractor at the high-rise for the past decade, said she never knew Roberts to have a harsh word for anyone.

Worker killed in shooting at Sacramento Speedway gas station

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A woman who worked at a Sacramento gas station died after a shooting early Wednesday morning at the station, KCRA 3 has confirmed. The shooting happened at the Speedway gas station off Gateway Oaks Drive in the Natomas neighborhood around 12:25 a.m., according to the Sacramento Police Department dispatch. She died at the gas station, according to authorities. 7-Eleven, which owns and operates Speedway gas stations, told KCRA 3 in a statement, “Our hearts are with the victim’s loved ones at this difficult time. We are working with local law enforcement to aid their investigation.”

Family remembers security guard killed in Oildale robbery, suspect arrested

OILDALE, Calif. (KGET) — What seems to have been a robbery-gone-wrong at Gravity Tobacco in Oildale on Sunday has left a man dead and his family reeling. Odulio “Jesse” Rodriguez, 36, was shot and killed while working a shift as a security guard at the tobacco shop. Kern County sheriff’s officials said he was pronounced dead at the scene. Sheriff’s officials said a gunman entered the shop on Roberts Lane and Locust Street at about 4:50 p.m. and fired as he attempted to rob the business. Rodriguez was hit at least once. Rodriguez’s family told 17 News that Rodriguez always went by the nickname Jesse. They added that he worked as a security guard for many years and enjoyed it very much.


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