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An Examination of Strategies for Preventing Workplace Homicides Committed by Perpetrators That Have a Prior Relationship With the Workplace or Its Employees

Gurka, Kelly K. MPH, PhD; Marshall, Stephen W. PhD; Casteel, Carri MPH, PhD; Runyan, Carol W. MPH, PhD; Loomis, Dana P. PhD; Richardson, David B. PhD

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: December 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 12 - p 1533–1538
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31826e2928
Original Articles

Objective: To determine whether recommended robbery prevention strategies also protect against workplace homicide committed by a perpetrator who has a relationship with either the workplace or an employee (prior-relationship homicide).

Methods: A case–control study examining the relationship between recommended violence prevention strategies and prior-relationship workplace homicides in North Carolina was conducted.

Results: Workplaces located in an industrial park, employing minorities, reporting a history of violence, open night hours, or open 24 hours were more likely to experience prior-relationship homicide. Keeping entrances to the workplace locked when employees were present (OR = 0.36, 95% CI: 0.13, 0.99) and having at least one security device (OR = 0.28, 95% CI: 0.10, 0.74) decreased the odds of prior-relationship homicide.

Conclusions: Select strategies recommended to prevent robberies and subsequent violence may also afford protection against prior-relationship homicide.

From the Department of Epidemiology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WVa (Dr Gurka); Injury Control Research Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WVa (Dr Gurka); Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC (Drs Gurka, Marshall, Casteel, Loomis, and Richardson); Injury Prevention Research Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC (Drs Gurka, Marshall, Casteel, and Runyan); Department of Orthopedics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC (Dr Marshall) Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC (Dr Runyan); Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC (Dr Runyan); Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, CO (Dr Runyan); Department of Pediatrics, Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO (Dr Runyan); Pediatric Injury Prevention, Education and Research (PIPER) Program, Aurora, CO (Dr Runyan); Department of Epidemiology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE (Dr Loomis); and Eppeley Cancer Institute, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE (Dr Loomis).

Address correspondence to: Kelly K. Gurka, MPH, PhD, Department of Epidemiology, Injury Control Research Center, West Virginia University, PO Box 9151, Morgantown, WV 26505 (kgurka@hsc.wvu.edu).

Dr Gurka was a doctoral student and Drs Loomis and Runyan were on faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, when this research was conducted.

This research was supported, in part, by a grant from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center (R49/CCR402444) and, in part, by a grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (T42-OH008673). The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No financial conflicts of interest are declared.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine