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Law enforcement | Research/studies | Shift work

Police officers on night shift face increased injury risks: study

January 20, 2014

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Buffalo, NY – Police officers working the night shift are more likely to suffer long-term workplace injuries than officers on other shifts, according to a new study from the University at Buffalo.

Researchers examined shift schedules and injury leave records, spanning 15 years, of more than 400 officers from the Buffalo Police Department. They found that officers working nights were 3 and 2.2 times more likely than officers on the day and afternoon shift, respectively, to suffer injuries requiring 90 days away from work. The findings were independent of age and gender.

“Leaves of this length suggest more serious types of injury and indicate that night shift work poses a more significant threat to the life and health of officers than previously assumed,” principal study author and University at Buffalo research scientist John Violanti said in a university press release.

Violanti said explanations for the higher injury rates include fatigue and an increased frequency of crime at night.

The study was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health.

The same researchers released a study in 2012 linking police stress with health risks.