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Health hazard evaluation report: evaluation of job stress and morale at a federal law enforcement agency's district facilities.

Wiegand DM; Brown SM
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 2012-0160-3212, 2014 Jun; :1-15
The Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request from a union regarding a federal law enforcement agency's district facilities in Illinois. The request concerned perceived low morale, job stress, and communication problems between employees and the employer. The district facilities we evaluated served as a court and processing center for adult immigrant detainees. Approximately 400 detainees were processed every week. Thirty employees were recently promoted; leaving vacancies that had not been filled. The employer encouraged employees to cross-train, volunteer for additional duties, and become enrolled in the mentoring program to improve chances for promotion. We visited the facilities in November 2012 to survey employees about job stress, morale, work organization, organizational commitment, job satisfaction, mental health symptoms, and use of sick leave. We also talked to randomly selected employees about work-related health concerns, communication, and morale. Employees reported that fatigue and symptoms of depression and anger were common, and high workloads, unfair treatment, and dissatisfaction with supervisors contributed to job stress and low morale. Our interviews revealed that (1) nearly half of the employees reported a work-related health concern, (2) employees wanted important information through meetings and email, and (3) most employees felt management was approachable, but did not believe their concerns or complaints would be addressed. We recommended the employer (1) talk to employees about how workload could be better managed, (2) work with the human resources department to improve transparency in hiring and promotional practices, and (3) communicate and enforce policies for holding employees accountable for poor performance. We recommended employees (1) get emergency help if thinking about harming themselves or someone else, and (2) seek counseling from a licensed clinical psychologist or psychiatrist if feeling depressed or angry, or having other mental health problems.
Region-5; Health-hazards; Humans; Men; Women; Law-enforcement; Law-enforcement-workers; Job-stress; Stress; Morale; Mental-health; Workers; Work-organization; Work-environment; Fatigue; Sleep-disorders; Emergency-responders; Author Keywords: International Affairs; job stress; morale at work; law enforcement
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
HETA-2012-0160-3212; M062014
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: February 3, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division