Federal agencies Research/studies Agriculture, forestry and fishing

CDC issues report on worker suicide; farming and construction among industries with highest rates

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Atlanta – Strategies for preventing worker suicide are needed, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim in a new report detailing the rates of self-inflicted death among U.S. workers.

Researchers examined more than 12,000 suicides reported in 17 states in 2012 from the National Violent Death Reporting System. They found that farming, fishing and forestry workers had the highest suicide rate at 84.5 per 100,000 workers, followed by workers in construction and extraction (53.3) and installation, maintenance and repair (47.9).

Among men, workers in farming, fishing and forestry again had the highest rate (90.5). For women, the highest rate was among those employed in protective services (14.1).

Researchers cited a number of possible reasons for higher suicide rates in certain occupational groups, including job-related isolation and demands, stressful work environments, and work-home imbalance, as well as socioeconomic inequities such as lower income, lower education level and lack of access to health services. They also pointed to farmworker exposure to pesticides – as well as long-term exposure to neurotoxic solvents among installation, maintenance and repair workers – as potential factors.

Workplace prevention strategies recommended by the researchers include wellness programs that offer education and training on recognizing warning signs, mental health screenings, and ensuring workers are aware of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The study was published in the July 1 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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