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Twenty-five year occupational homicide mortality trends in North Carolina: 1992-2017.

INTRODUCTION: Determining industry of decedents and victim-perpetrator relationships is crucial to inform and evaluate occupational homicide prevention strategies. In this study, we examine occupational homicide rates in North Carolina (NC) by victim characteristics, industry and victim-perpetrator relationship from 1992 to 2017.

METHODS: Occupational homicides were identified from records of the NC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner system and the NC death certificates. Sex, age, race, ethnicity, class of worker, manner of death, victim-perpetrator relationship and industry were abstracted. Crude and age-standardised homicide rates were calculated as the number of homicides that occurred at work divided by an estimate of worker-years (w-y). Rate ratios and 95% CIs were calculated, and trends over calendar time in occupational homicide rates were examined overall and by industry.

RESULTS: 456 homicides over 111 573 049 w-y were observed. Occupational homicide rates decreased from 0.82 per 100 000 w-y for the period 1992-1995 to 0.21 per 100 000 w-y for the period 2011-2015, but increased to 0.32 per 100 000 w-y in the period 2016-2017. Fifty-five per cent (252) of homicides were perpetrated by strangers. Taxi drivers experienced an occupational homicide rate that was 110 times (95% CI 76.52 to 160.19) the overall occupational homicide rate in NC; however, this rate declined by 76.5% between 1992 and 2017. Disparities were observed among workers 65+ years old, racially and ethnically minoritised workers and self-employed workers.

CONCLUSION: Our findings identify industries and worker demographics that experienced high occupational homicide fatality rates. Targeted and tailored mitigation strategies among vulnerable industries and workers are recommended.

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