Hundreds killed by guns in workplace

Ohio ranks seventh for number of people killed by firearms at work.

Firearms were the cause of about one-tenth of workplace fatalities in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The shootings run the gamut from robberies and other crimes, to police officers and security forces killed in the line of duty, to suicides, to disgruntled employees or spouses coming in and killing people.

The issue of guns in the workplace is controversial. Some people think employees should be allowed to bring their guns in to work for self-defense, while others say access to guns makes the workplace less safe.

Companies can choose to allow guns, but currently no state mandates that employers let people bring their guns inside the workplace.

Credit: David McNew

Credit: David McNew

In December the Ohio General Assembly expanded the state’s concealed carry weapons (CCW) law to allow employees to bring handguns to their company’s parking lot and not face disciplinary action even if the company has a gun-free workplace policy. The guns must remained locked in the employee’s personal vehicle. About half of the states have similar laws allowing guns on private company parking lots.

In Ohio CCW holders may also bring their guns to non-federal government building parking lots and school zones under the new law, which takes effect March 21.

Child care centers and universities and colleges can decide to allow them as well.

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In 2015 there were 4,836 fatal workplace injuries in the United States. The statistics show 486 people were killed by someone using a firearm. That figure was up from 2014, when 453 people were fatally injured by firearms at work.

Of the 202 employees fatally injured at work that year in Ohio, 18 people died from firearms injuries. That was down from 22 firearms deaths in 2014, according to the BLS data.

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Ohio, the nation’s seventh largest state, also ranked seventh nationally for the number of people killed by firearms at work that year.

California and Texas had the most, with 55 each, followed by Florida and Michigan, with 26 each. Georgia had 23 firearms fatalities and New York had 21, according to the BLS.

Only two states, Alaska and West Virginia, had no workplace gun fatalities in 2015.

RELATED:  9 Workplace Shooting incidents in Ohio and the U.S.

An analysis of the national data shows:

  • Men are far more likely than women to be killed by guns at work, with 428 males among the dead.
  • Shootings at private industries accounted for 403 deaths and the other 83 were in government facilities.
  • Tending a retail establishment was one of the more dangerous occupations, with 118 of the fatalities occurring there.
  • People in protective service occupations, including law enforcement and security guards, accounted for 81 of the gun fatalities.
  • 225 of the fatalities occurred in public buildings, mostly stores and offices.
  • 68 of the people killed at work by guns were in parking lots or garages.

RELATED: Business groups lament expanded Ohio gun laws

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