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Homicides accounted for 11% of workplace fatalities in 2009: NCCI

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Homicides account for 11% of workplace fatalities, most resulting from robberies rather than co-worker crimes of passion, NCCI Holdings Inc. said in a research brief released Monday.

Meanwhile, nonfatal assaults make up less than 2% of total nonfatal lost work-time injuries and illnesses, but that share has been increasing, NCCI says in “Violence in the Workplace,” a research brief based on data collected through 2009, the latest available.

Work-related homicides and injuries due to workplace assaults remain well below their mid-1990s levels, according to NCCI. That is consistent with declines in homicides and aggravated assaults for the nation as a whole, although workplace homicides have declined more than the nation's overall rate, NCCI said. From 1993 to 2009, the rate of workplace homicides fell 59% while the overall rate of homicides fell 47%, according to the brief.

“While workplace homicides by co-workers make headlines, from 2003 to 2009 the share of homicides by co-workers has seen little change, bouncing between 10% to 14%, while the share due to interactions with customers increased from 5% to 12% and then fell back to 9%,” NCCI said in the brief.

Homicides by customers occur most frequently at establishments that serve alcohol as a result of breaking up fights.

But occupations such as service station attendants, barbers, taxi drivers, security guards and lodging managers account for the highest incidences of homicides overall. The homicide rate for taxi drivers and chauffeurs declined to 6.8% in 2009 from 16.4% in 2003. The rate for service station attendants increased in 2009 to 8.0% after holding steady at about 5% since 2003. Meanwhile, barbers had held steady in the 7% to 8% range since 2005, primarily due to robberies.

Among many other findings, NCCI also said that workplace assaults occur mainly in the “female-intensive health services industry,” particularly in nursing and residential care facilities.