178232 A Decade of Occupational Mortality in Law Enforcement: Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 1992-2002

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hope Tiesman, PhD, MSPH , Division of Safety Research, CDC/NIOSH, Morgantown, WV
Scott A. Hendricks, MS , Division of Safety Research, CDC/NIOSH, Morgantown, WV
Harlan Amandus, PhD , Division of Safety Research, CDC/NIOSH, Morgantown, WV
Purpose: The inherent nature of law enforcement puts them at an increased risk for occupational homicide; however, police also have high occupational transportation-related death rates. This study examines trends in occupational homicide and transportation-related death rates in US law enforcement officers between 1992 and 2002.

Methods: We examined data from the public-use file of the US Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries database (CFOI) between 1992 and 2002 to estimate numbers of intentional and unintentional occupational deaths in police officers and detectives. Work-related fatality rates by intention were calculated with denominators derived from the Current Population Survey (CPS) of employment. Trends in rates were analyzed employing a Poisson regression assuming a linear trend across the study period.

Results: Between the years 1992 and 2002, there were 1,027 occupational injury fatalities in police and detectives, for an overall rate of 16.8 per 100,000 workers. There were 471 (46%) transportation-related fatalities for a rate of 7.7 per 100,000 workers and 450 (44%) homicides for a rate of 7.4 per 100,000. Preliminary data indicate that overall occupational mortality rates have decreased (RR=0.96, 95%CI=0.94-0.98). While both homicide and transportation-related mortality rates have decreased (RR=0.93, 95%CI=0.91, 0.96; RR=0.99, 95%CI=0.96, 1.02, respectively), only the homicide rate decrease reached statistical significance.

Conclusions: Occupational homicide rates declined significantly and transportation-related death rates also decreased, but not at a significant level. The difference in the declines between transportation deaths and homicides is not statistically significant. Further investigation into the causes of transportation-related death rates in this occupation is warranted.

Learning Objectives:
Identify the leading types of occupational hazards encountered by law enforcement personnel Describe trends in occupational mortality rates for US police and detectives Discuss ideas for future research into interventions to reduce motor-vehicle deaths in law enforcement

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed the hypothesis, planned the analysis, and drafted the abstract
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.