Law Enforcement Officers 3 Times More Likely to Be Injured Than Other Workers

March 5, 2018

An estimated 669,100 law enforcement officers were treated in emergency departments across the nation for nonfatal injuries between 2003 and 2014, according to a new study.

Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found law enforcement officers have historically high rates of fatal and nonfatal injuries. The research shows that officers are three times more likely to sustain a nonfatal injury than all other U.S. workers.

The study, Nonfatal Injuries to Law Enforcement Officers: A Rise in Assaults, which is the first to examine nonfatal injuries among officers on a national scale, was published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

It is also the first to capture nonfatal injuries sustained from assaults and unintentional injuries such as accidental falls or motor vehicle crashes.

The researchers, whose aim was to provide national estimates and trends of nonfatal injuries to law enforcement officers from 2003 to 2014, found the following:

The law enforcement officer nonfatal injury trend increased across the 12-year period studied; this is in contrast with the trend for all other U.S. workers, which significantly decreased; assault-related injury rates increased almost 10 percent annually from 2003 to 2011.

The three leading reasons for on-duty injuries were assaults and violent acts (36 percent), bodily reactions and exertion from running or other repetitive motions (15 percent), and transportation incidents (14 percent).

The study used data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System – Occupational Supplement obtained for injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments from 2003 to 2014.

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