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Eleven years of occupational mortality in law enforcement: the census of fatal occupational injuries, 1992-2002.

Tiesman-HM; Hendricks-SA; Bell-JL; Amandus-HA
Am J Ind Med 2010 Sep; 53(9):940-949
Background: Occupational injury deaths remain high for Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs). This study describes and compares intentional and transportation-related fatality rates in US LEOs between 1992 and 2002. Methods: Workplace injury deaths among LEOs from 1992 to 2002 were categorized into Intentional, Transportation-related, and Other, using the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Occupations included in this analysis were sheriffs and bailiffs, police and detectives, non-public service guards, and correctional officers. Fatality rates were compared among law enforcement occupations, cause of death, and demographics with rate ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Results: During the 11-year period, 2,280 workers died from an occupational injury, for a fatality rate of 11.8 per 100,000 across all LEO occupations. Forty-seven percent were homicides (n = 1,072, rate 5.6 per 100,000), 36% transportation-related (n = 815, rate 4.2 per 100,000), 11% were due to other causes (n = 249, rate 1.3 per 100,000), and 5% were workplace suicides (n = 122, rate 0.6 per 100,000). The proportion of fatalities by cause of death differed significantly between occupations (P < 0.0001). Sheriffs and bailiffs experience a high risk for occupational injury death compared to other law enforcement occupations. Of the transportation-related fatalities, LEOs were operating a motor-vehicle in 58% of the incidents and 22% of the fatalities were struck by incidents. Conclusions: Transportation-related deaths were nearly as common as homicides as a cause of occupational injury death among US LEOs. Struck by vehicle incidents remain an important and overlooked cause of death. This research points to opportunities for the prevention of transportation-related deaths in law enforcement.
Law-enforcement; Law-enforcement-workers; Mortality-rates; Mortality-data; Mortality-surveys; Epidemiology; Statistical-analysis; Injuries; Traumatic-injuries; Emergency-responders; Demographic-characteristics; Surveillance; Author Keywords: CFOI; traumatic injury; fatality rates; occupation; police
Hope M. Tiesman, NIOSH, Division of Safety Research, 1095 Willowdale Road, M/S 1811, Morgantown, WV 26506
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Document Type
Journal Article
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Fiscal Year
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NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Services: Public Safety
Source Name
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division