Injury Prevention and Control, 6th World Conference, Montréal, Quebec, Canada, May 12-15, 2002. Montréal: Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 2002 May; :421-422
Over the past two decades, violence in the workplace has received growing attention among the safety and health community. The National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) surveillance system reported over 14,000 workers were victims of workplace homicides between 1980 and 1997. During this period, homicide was the second leading cause of workplace fatalities in the USA, averaging 800 fatalities per year. Establishing the number and rate of occupational homicides presents valuable information to assist in determining the focus for prevention and research efforts. These measures provide the basis for determining the cost of occupational injuries, which affords another decision making standard for policymakers. In a 1992 Leigh, et al. study, the cost of all occupational fatal injuries in a single year was estimated to be nearly $4 billion-a substantial impact U.S. economy. However, little effort has been made to estimate the cost of workplace homicides to the economy. The total lifetime cost of the nearly 14,000 workplace homcides was estimated at nearly $12 billion dollars, ranging from $536 million in 1984 to $791 million in 1993. Over this time period, the mean cost of a single workplace homicide was estimated at $804,035 compared to the overall average occupational fatality cost of $801,421. The average cost of an occupational fatality resulting from other external causes of injury ranged from a high of $1.25 million for air transportation incidents to a low of $666,000 for fatalities associated with machines. The mean lifetime cost of a workplace homicide by occupation varied from a high of over $1 million dollars to a low of just over $500,000. Similar variation was found in the cost per fatality by industry, age, sex, and race. Workplace homicides present a considerable burden on the U.S. economy nearly $12 billion over the 18-year study period. Although homicide was the second leading cause of death between 1980 and 1997, the mean lifetime cost of those fatalities ranked 12th of the 19 external cause of death categories. The cost of these fatalities varied widely by the age of the decedent- with the highest cost being double that of the lowest, There is similar variation in the lifetime cost of homicide by occupation and industry. These findings suggest that increased attention to risk factor identification for selected subgroups of the population is warranted.