Increase Risk of Work Place Injuries for Police Officers and other Law Enforcement Employees

A new study shows that police officers who work on the night shift have a higher risk of injury than officers on other shifts.

Police officers in St. Paul have a difficult job to do and their risk for injury is high. Just recently, an officer in Robbinsdale was hurt while doing his job, according to KSTP news. Sounds like gunfire rang out in the night air after a driver took off. The driver, who had been pulled over for an unknown traffic violation, refused to cooperate with the officer after getting out of the vehicle. It is unknown what caused the driver to run and it was not confirmed whether a gun was fired. The officer was apparently, not seriously injured, but there was no information as to the cause or extent of his leg injury.

The night shift can be dangerous

The FBI states that the number of officers who were assaulted in 2013 was 49,851. The top three situations that led to these assaults included involvement with people under custody at 12.8 percent, making an arrest at 16.3 percent and trying to resolve a disturbance at 31.2 percent. Furthermore, the hours from 12:01am to 2:00am generated the majority of assaults.

A new study conducted by the University of Buffalo recently found that the night shift posed a higher risk for officer injuries overall than other shifts. When compared to afternoon and day shifts, the rate of injuries for officers on the night shift was 2.2 and 3 times greater. The study included 400 officers and 15 years' worth of records relating to injury leave and shift schedules. Researchers looked at recovery periods of 90 days.

Greater stress and less sleep

Researchers who conducted the study attributed the higher risk with greater stress and less sleep. Most criminal activity occurs at night. People who are out drinking at bars and are under the influence of alcohol are more prone to get into fights; couples often argue with each other more in the evening hours; and even violent crimes like robbery, murder and rape occur after the sun goes down. This puts officers on the night shift not only at more risk for injury, but at risk for more serious injuries than officers on other shifts.

With the higher number of calls that officers must respond to comes a greater amount of paperwork and stressful situations. These factors can wear officers out and it has also been shown in previous studies that officers who work at night often struggle with getting enough sleep. Adding to those conditions, officers also tend to be younger and therefore, less experienced in handling dangerous situations.

When people in Minnesota are injured on the job, they may find themselves facing the effects of that injury for months or even years. Therefore, they may want to meet with an attorney, who can explain to them how workers' compensation works.