Recent workplace homicide investigations have noted that the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) has several limitations that reduce our ability to understand who dies as part of a workplace homicide incident. We sought to assess the magnitude of nonworker deaths associated with workplace homicide incidents.
Using National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) data from 2003 to 2017, we employed a descriptive epidemiological investigation. The counts of worker and nonworker deaths during a workplace homicide incident were ascertained, as well as other characteristics (e.g., gender, age, mechanism of death, and race/ethnicity). We used multiple logistic regression to estimate the relationship between incident characteristics and the odds of having a nonworker death.
Across the study period, there were 2,020 workplace homicides. The number of deaths associated with workplace homicide incidents increased 8.2% when considering nonworker deaths (n = 2,186). Including those nonfatally shot as part of a workplace homicide incident increased causalities by 18.2% (n = 2,388). If a firearm was used during perpetration, the odds that a nonworker was killed during a workplace homicide incident increased 3.76 times (95% confidence interval: 2.03, 6.96).
Conclusion/Application to Practice
Considering nonworkers killed as part of workplace homicide incidents is essential to understanding the true magnitude of violence associated with these incidents. Likely, it is the lethality of firearms that greatly increases the likelihood that nonworkers are killed as part a workplace homicide incident. To best understand the epidemiology of workplace homicide incident, we recommend CFOI adopt an incident-based method for coding workplace deaths.