What Does It Mean to Go Postal

Discover the origins of ‘going postal,’ the motivations behind it, examples of such incidents, and how to prevent workplace violence. Learn more about this phenomenon.

The Origins of ‘Going Postal’

‘Going postal’ is a term that originated from a series of tragic workplace shootings carried out by postal workers in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s. These incidents led to the phrase ‘going postal’ being used to describe a person becoming extremely angry or violent, especially in a workplace setting.

Understanding the Motivations

There are various reasons why someone might ‘go postal.’ Some common factors include workplace stress, frustration, feelings of injustice, and mental health issues. These individuals may feel overwhelmed or isolated, leading to a buildup of anger and resentment that can eventually erupt in violence.

Examples of Going Postal

One of the most well-known cases of someone ‘going postal’ was the 1986 shooting at the Edmond, Oklahoma post office, where a disgruntled employee killed 14 of his colleagues before taking his own life. Another example is the 1991 shooting at a Royal Oak, Michigan post office, where a worker killed four employees before turning the gun on himself.

Preventing Workplace Violence

Employers can take steps to prevent workplace violence and reduce the risk of employees ‘going postal.’ This can include creating a positive work environment, providing mental health support services, addressing grievances promptly, and promoting open communication.

Statistics on Workplace Violence

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, workplace violence is a major concern in the United States, with an average of over two million incidents reported each year. While not all cases involve ‘going postal,’ it highlights the need for employers to prioritize employee safety and well-being.

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