Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

January 9, 2023, is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.While defending the public, law enforcement officers (LEO) jeopardize their lives, health, and well-being. In the course of their work, officers encounter numerous risks, some of which may seem obvious.

These risks include being involved in car accidents, getting hurt by needlesticks, being exposed to lead and noise, working shifts and being tired, experiencing stress at work, and being exposed to traumatic events that could have an adverse effect on their mental health. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provides materials on this blog to help maintain the health and safety of law enforcement personnel.

Motor Vehicle-related Incidents

One of the main causes ofLaw Enforcement Appreciation Day officials dying in the line of duty in the US is motor vehicle accidents, which are also avoidable. On average, one police officer has died on the country’s highways every week for the past ten years. The primary cause of death for police most years is motor vehicle-related occurrences, such as collisions and being struck by moving vehicles while walking.

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According to a recent study, 244 police enforcement officers lost their lives in traffic crashes between 2017 and 2021 (137 in auto crashes, 87 in struck-by incidents, and 20 in motorcycle crashes). A drunk motorist was at fault in 27 percent of the struck-by incidents.

Of the 137 collision fatalities, the 2017–2021 LEO fatality research revealed that 47% of the officers were not wearing a seat cushion.  Other actions that could expose cops to a collision while on the job include:

  • Speeding excessively, especially through intersections
  • utilizing other in-car technology or a mobile data terminal while preoccupied
  • feeling weary and having tunnel vision due to elevated stress

The Officer Road Code Toolkit is one of the materials and prevention techniques for all motor vehicle-related incidents available on the NIOSHLaw Enforcement Appreciation Day Motor Vehicle Safety website.

Accidents known as “struck-bys” happen when a driver strikes an officer when they are operating outside of their patrol car. More than half of the struck-by fatalities from the 2017–2021 analysis included Law Enforcement Appreciation Day personnel at active crash scenes. Police officers performing traffic stops or using tire deflation tools were engaged in other struck-by fatalities. Roughly half entailed going against the “move over, slow down” “the law” by other drivers.

Officers can reduce their chance of getting hit by a car by adhering to the correct safety protocols. Sustaining situational awareness, operating in the temporary traffic control zone, staying out of other people’s lanes, and approaching cars from the passenger side during stops are a few preventative tips. See the graphics and article Struck-by: Officer Safety for additional suggestions.

Needlesticks

Law enforcement personnel may be exposed to bloodborne infections such as HIV and hepatitis B and C (HBV, HCV) through routine work responsibilities that involve needlesticks and other sharp object injuries. Employers should establish a thorough bloodborne pathogen exposure control program, carry out efficient training, offer timely treatment, and record needlestick and other sharps injuries on the OSHA 300 log, according to the NIOSH paper Reducing Work-Related Needlestick and Other Sharps Injuries Among Law Enforcement Officers.

Law enforcement personnel can reduce the risk of needlestick injuries at work by completing search technique training, wearing puncture-resistant gloves during searches, and adhering to safe handling, transportation, and disposal procedures for sharps.  View other suggestions in the aforementioned document.

Shiftwork

Shiftwork” is the term for labor performed outside of the typical 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daylight hours, and it has become ingrained in our culture. There is evidence connecting shiftwork to a number of health issues, such as gastrointestinal illnesses, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cognitive impairment.

Many professions require shift work, particularly those that require 24-hour service, like first responders. The majority of police officers are required to work both night and afternoon shifts, and in certain departments, they may also be required to rotate shifts.

Researchers studying the Buffalo Cardio-Metabolic Occupational Police Stress (BCOPS) study examined the connections between shift work and a number of police officer health issues. Their research revealed a link between shift employment (night and/or afternoon) and Insufficient sleep duration and poor quality can cause weariness and impaired focus at work, as well as a rise in workplace-related injuries and more serious injuries

January 9, 2023, is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.While defending the public, law enforcement officers (LEO) jeopardize their lives
  • A rise in absenteeism due to illness
  • Increased degrees of stress and burnout
  • An increase in depression symptoms was seen; the odds were over four times higher than during the day shift.
  • Increased inflammatory response, linked to the majority of chronic illnesses
  • worsening of heart disease-causing CVD risk factors, such as blood pressure

The majority of the results from the published BCOPS publications demonstrate the connection between health issues and work-related factors. In order to determine the elements that either cause or predict health and safety issues for these police officers, NIOSH experts are also carrying out longitudinal studies.

Police officers and employers can both adopt measures to mitigate the impact of working shifts. Employers can guarantee access to proper health care and counseling services as well as training. The following actions can be taken by officers to maintain their health: engage in regular exercise; eat a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in processed foods high in sugar, fats, and preservatives

; enhance sleep quality by minimizing light and noise, getting seven or more hours of sleep, and adhering to a regular sleep schedule; embrace tried-and-true stress-relieving techniques like yoga and meditation; and consult a professional about other helpful strategies to maintain health while working shifts.

Watch this webinar to learn more about the study and how to lessen the negative impacts of shift work.

Suicide

Adopt measures to mitigate the impact of working shifts. Employers can guarantee access to proper health care and counseling services as well as training. The following actions can be taken by officers to maintain their health: engage in regular exercise; eat a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in processed foods high in sugar, fats, and preservatives;

enhance sleep quality by minimizing light and noise, getting seven or more hours of sleep, and adhering to a regular sleep schedule; embrace tried-and-true stress-relieving techniques like yoga and meditation; and consult a professional about other helpful strategies to maintain health while working shifts.

Watch this webinar to learn more about the study and how to lessen the negative impacts of shift work profession.

Nonfatal Injuries

According to NIOSH data, nonfatal injuries claimed the lives of an estimated 303,500 officers in U.S. emergency rooms between 2012 and 2017. Workplace attacks (48%), transportation-related events (11%), and falls (11%), were the top causes of injuries. Over 50% of the overall injuries were during interactions, arrests, or pursuits of a suspect by law enforcement. According to additional research on workplace violence,

the highest incidence rate of injuries resulting in time away from work due to workplace violence was observed among law enforcement officers in 2019. Compared to the total worker rate of 3.6, the rate of 42.5 per 10,000 full-time workers was more than 11 times greater. Further investigation is required, but policy, training, and strategies to enhance officers’ general physical fitness and injury prevention should also be taken into account Rehab may be able to reduce the chance of officer injuries.

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Noise and Lead Exposure at Firing Ranges

Regular training at indoor firing ranges is mandatory for over a million law enforcement officers from the federal, state, and local levels; numerous others receive their training outdoors. Officers may be exposed to dangerously high quantities of lead and noise when using these facilities. Lead dust from gunshots can be inhaled or contaminate surfaces at indoor firing ranges, which can subsequently spread to people’s skin, particularly the hands.

When handling food, drinks, and other objects that come into contact with the mouth, lead from the hands can be consumed. Lead poisoning may result from elevated blood lead levels.

Peak noise levels from gunfire in an indoor firing range are higher than the 140 dB SPL occupational health regulations; peak noise levels are dangerous even outside. NIOSH advises cops to who work near firing ranges use both earmuffs and earplugs for double hearing protection as part of a comprehensive hearing conservation program. For additional information, including suggestions for prevention, see the website and blog.

Response During Emergencies

When a crisis or disaster strikes, like storms, floods, COVID-19, or 9/11, law enforcement personnel are frequently the first to arrive on the scene.  Officers’ health may be at risk from exposure during emergencies or disasters. In the case of a chemical, biological, radiological, or natural disaster, the NIOSH Emergency Preparedness and Response Program plans ahead and provides emergency response services.

To safeguard workers who respond to and recover from emergencies, the program incorporates occupational safety and health.

In New York City, more than 25,000 law enforcement personnel responded to the 9/11 attacks. For individuals who were directly impacted by the 9/11 events, the World Trade Center Health Program offers free medical monitoring and treatment for approved diseases related to the WTC. 62% of law enforcement officer deaths linked to their duties in 2020 were COVID-19-related deaths Notice Law enforcement materials and techniques related to COVID-19.

REFERENCE BY

https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2023/01/09/leo-day-2023/

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