Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 December 2013
This exploratory study examined the workplace violence problem in a sample of 96 New Zealand organisations. Just over one-half of participating organisations reported cases of violence, with a total of nearly 2,500 cases reported in 2009. The incidence rate for all violence cases was high compared with internationally reported rates. Highest violence incidence rates and lost-time were reported for the health sector, where patients, customers/clients and family members were rated as sources of violence of particularly high importance. Risk factors with highest mean importance ratings were related to exposure to unstable persons, including: alcohol and drug use, harassment, and mental and physical instability/distress. Workload and time-pressure were also identified as risk factors for some organisations. Just 50% of organisations formally recognised violence as a hazard in the workplace, while interventions were largely limited to employee training and technological factors.