More retail workers than law-enforcement officers were killed in homicides on the job for 6 years in a row

FILE - In this July 30, 2019, file photo Walmart employees gather in a nearby parking lot after a shooting at the store in Southaven, Miss. The discounter has dealt with thousands of violent crimes at its stores across the country, including one that took place less than a week ago at a store in Mississippi where a disgruntled worker killed two co -workers and wounded a police officer. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill, File)FILE - In this July 30, 2019, file photo Walmart employees gather in a nearby parking lot after a shooting at the store in Southaven, Miss. The discounter has dealt with thousands of violent crimes at its stores across the country, including one that took place less than a week ago at a store in Mississippi where a disgruntled worker killed two co -workers and wounded a police officer. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill, File)Associated Press

  • More retail workers than law-enforcement workers were killed in homicides on the job each year between 2012 and 2017, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2017 is the latest year for which this data is available.
  • 94 retail employees were killed in homicides while at work in 2017, compared to 85 law-enforcement officers, firefighters, and others in similar positions during the same period.
  • The number of homicides in retail is so high in part because so many people work in the industry - many more than are employed as police officers or security guards.
  • The figure represents a major problem for retailers, especially as the industry additionally saw 55,480 nonfatal worker injuries in 2017.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

More retail workers than police officers are killed in homicides on the job.

In 2017, 94 people working in sales and similar jobs were killed at work in homicides, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. 46 retail sales supervisors, 31 cashiers, and 14 salespeople were among those killed.

For comparison, 85 people in protective service jobs - law-enforcement officers, firefighters, and related careers - were killed in homicides the same year. 37 police officers and 30 security guards were among those killed in homicides.

Homicides, most of them attributed to intentional shootings, made up roughly 9% of fatal workplace injuries in the US in 2017.

Part of the reason the total number of retail workers murdered is comparable to that of more stereotypically dangerous jobs is because many more people work in the retail industry than as police officers or security guards. When comparing the proportional number of employees who died by homicide at work, protective service workers were about five times more likely to die by homicide.

The fatal injury rate for law-enforcement officers and firefighters in 2017 was 7.7 - in other words, for every 100,000 full-time employees working in this sector, 7.7 died on the job due to homicide or other fatal injuries. Out of 100,000 retail workers, 1.6 died due to fatal injuries on the job in 2017.

Read more: What experts say that Walmart and other retailers need to do to protect shoppers and workers in the aftermath of deadly shootings that killed 24 people

The threat of violence at work

A man cries beside a cross at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. The border city jolted by a weekend massacre at a Walmart absorbed more grief Monday as the death toll climbed and prepared for a visit from President Donald Trump over anger from El Paso residents and local Democratic leaders who say he isn't welcome and should stay away.   (AP Photo/John Locher)A man cries beside a cross at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. The border city jolted by a weekend massacre at a Walmart absorbed more grief Monday as the death toll climbed and prepared for a visit from President Donald Trump over anger from El Paso residents and local Democratic leaders who say he isn't welcome and should stay away. (AP Photo/John Locher)Associated Press

While the average police officer may be more likely to be murdered at work than the average cashier, violence against retail workers has been a real concern for years.

In 2016, 121 people working in sales were killed in homicides at work. In 2015, 96 people were killed, and in 2014, 107 people were killed. Every year from 2012 to 2017, more retail workers than police officers and firefighters were murdered on the job. 2017 is the latest year for which this data is available.

Retail workers are actually more likely than people working in protective services to have nonfatal injuries that force them to take time off of work.

There were roughly 55,480 nonfatal injuries on the job linked to days off work among retail workers in 2017, or 382 injuries for every 100,000 workers. 9,540 law-enforcement officers and firefighters were injured at work the same year - 280 injuries for every 100,000 workers.

The dangers faced by retail workers have been recently highlighted following two shootings in Walmart stores that killed 24 people in El Paso, Texas, and Southaven, Mississippi. Two store workers were killed in the Southaven shooting, which was carried out by another Walmart employee.

"It would be hard to find any establishment that hosts the public this week not thinking about what else should be done," hospitality industry consultant Bjorn Hanson told Business Insider.

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