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Suicide in the workplace: incidence, victim characteristics, and external cause of death.
J Occup Med 1989 Oct; 31(10):847-851
Suicide in the workplace was examined in terms of incidence, victim characteristics, and external cause of death. Data were obtained from the National Traumatic Occupational Fatality (NTOF) database. During the period 1980 to 1985, 3 percent of deaths in the NTOF database were suicides. The average annual rate of suicide was 2.3 per million workers. Risk of workplace suicide increased with increasing age. Men had more than seven times the risk of women. Whites had a risk ratio of 1.6 compared with blacks. Women used the same methods of suicide, but in different proportions than men at work or suicide victims in general. Guns were used by 58 percent of men, but less than 40 percent of women. Poison was used by 26 percent of women, but only 6 percent of men. Hanging, suffocation or strangulation was used by 22 percent of men, and 12 percent of women. Men in military service and in the agriculture, forestry, and fishery industry appeared to be at highest risk of killing themselves at work. Potential risk factor patterns for suicides in the workplace were similar to patterns identified in general population suicides. The author concludes that, while suicide in the workplace is not a problem of great magnitude, some workers do appear to be at higher risk; more quantitative studies are necessary to identify risk factors for suicide in the workplace.
JOCMA7; NIOSH-Author; Mental-health; Mental-illness; Risk-factors; Mortality-rates; Age-factors; Sex-factors; Racial-factors; Epidemiology
Issue of Publication
Journal of Occupational Medicine
Page last reviewed: September 4, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division