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NIOSH - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

 

NIOSH eNews - September 2009

Workplace suicides rose from 196 cases in 2007 to 251 cases in 2008, an increase of 28 percent and the highest number ever reported by the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI).  Suicide counts based on CFOI generally include only those cases of suicide that occur on the work site and/or on work time. Suicides occurring outside of the workplace or not on work time may also be included, but only if documentation exists to establish a clear work relationship.  CFOI counts are an imperfect measure of the number of suicides resulting from layoffs or other work-related reasons, since these suicides often occur away from the work site and therefore may not be included in our counts. Because suicidal behavior is generally multi-causal in nature, determining the motivation for suicidal behavior is extremely challenging and is beyond the scope of the CFOI program.  Also see the article “An Analysis of Workplace Suicides, 1992-2001” by Stephen Pegula accessed at http://www.bls.gov/opub/cwc/sh20040126ar01p1.htm.

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Occupational disease research and prevention activities represent a significant portion of the NORA Sectors’ program portfolios.  The rate of nonfatal occupational illness across all U.S. private industry decreased from 30.7 per 10,000 in 2003 to 21.8 in 2007.  The average rate of nonfatal occupational illnesses in the Manufacturing (NAICS 31–33) sector were 2.4-fold greater than U.S. Private industry averages (65.5/10,000 vs. 26.3/10,000).  Two other industry sectors reported rates that exceeded the  Private industry 2003–2007 average by 50%; Utilities (NAICS 22) and Health Care and Social Assistance (NAICS 62).

Since 1992 the number of workplace suicides have varied between 180 to 230, or 3.3 to 3.9% of all fatal injuries.  Workplace suicides rose from 196 cases in 2007 to 251 cases in 2008, an increase of 28 percent and the highest number ever reported by the fatality census. Suicides among protective service occupations rose from 14 in 2007 to 25 in 2008.  Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 20, 2009.