A study of female homicides occurring in United States (US) workplaces was conducted. The NIOSH National Traumatic Occupational Fatality (NTOF) surveillance database was searched to identify all deaths resulting from women being assaulted at work during the period 1980 through 1986. Homicide rates were calculated according to the demographic characteristics and occupation of the cases. A total of 950 women, age range 16 to 93 years, were murdered at work during the study period. The six year mean age adjusted homicide rate was 4.04 deaths/million. By age, the highest homicide rate, 11.3 deaths/million, occurred among females 65 years of age or older and the lowest, 2.50 deaths/million, among those 16 to 19 years old. The relative risk for homicide among blacks relative to all other women was 1.7. Most of the homicides occurred in the retail trade, transportation, communications, and public utilities, and public administration sectors. Of these, 43% occurred in the retail trade industry. Approximately 41% of these occurred in food stores and 34% in eating and drinking establishments. By occupation, 71% of the murdered women were employed as sales personnel, clerical workers, service employees, and supervisors. A total of 609 homicides were caused by firearms, 181 by stabbings and slashings, 69 by asphyxiation, and 57 by blunt instruments. The author concludes that the NTOF system has identified homicide as the major occupational hazard for working women in the US. Females employed in retail trades, especially food establishments, are at greatest risk.
Chief, Injury Surveillance Section, Division of Safety Research, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, S-109, 944 Chestnut Ridge Road, Morgantown, WV 26505