Occupational Safety and Health for Public Safety Employees Assessing the Evidence and the Implications for Public Safety

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-01-16
  • Publisher: RAND Corporation
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Police officers, firefighters, and other public safety workers are asked to put their lives at risk to protect the general public, so it is not surprising that they face exceptionally high rates of injury and fatality relative to the general workforce. To help protect public safety employees from work-related injuries and illnesses without compromising their ability to do their jobs, policymakers need a better understanding of the specific risk factors associated with different aspects of public safety occupations. To further such understanding, LaTourrette, Loughran, and Seabury conducted a literature review of research on this topic; held roundtable discussions with representatives from several public safety departments in California; and analyzed national survey data, as well as administrative data from California, to illuminate how the injury, illness, and fatality rates for public safety employees differ from those of the general workforce. The authors highlight opportunities and challenges to improving the health and safety of public safety workers. Book jacket.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. iii
Figuresp. xi
Tablesp. xiii
Summaryp. xv
Acknowledgmentsp. xxvii
Abbreviationsp. xxix
Introductionp. 1
Background and Research Goalsp. 1
Defining the Study Populationp. 4
Organization of This Reportp. 5
Description of Injury and Disability Compensation for Public Safety Employeesp. 7
Workers' Compensation Benefitsp. 7
Disability Retirement Benefitsp. 11
What Is Known About the Safety and Health of Public Safety Employees?p. 15
Methods and Data Sourcesp. 15
Surveillance Datap. 15
Empirical Studiesp. 16
The Fire Servicep. 16
Fire Service Fatalitiesp. 19
Fire Service Injuriesp. 24
Health Outcomes in Firefightersp. 27
Emergency Medical Servicesp. 32
Law Enforcementp. 33
Law Enforcement Fatalitiesp. 34
Law Enforcement Injuriesp. 36
Health Outcomes in Law Enforcement Officersp. 38
Discussionp. 39
Characterizing Current Strategies for Reducing Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Among Public Safety Employeesp. 41
Roundtable Discussionsp. 41
Safety and Health Protection Efforts in the Public Safety Workforcep. 43
Impediments to Safety and Health Promotionp. 45
Service-Wide Safety and Health Promotion Effortsp. 47
Comparing Safety and Health Risks and Promotion Strategiesp. 50
Time Spent on Primary Work Activitiesp. 52
Correspondence Between Safety and Health Risks and Promotion Strategiesp. 53
Discussionp. 58
The Health of Public Safety Workers Relative to That of Other Workersp. 61
The Incidence of Disability Across Occupations in the Current Population Surveyp. 62
The Incidence of Poor Health Across Occupations in the National Health Interview Surveyp. 68
Discussionp. 84
Work-Related Disability Benefit Receipt and Disability Retirement Among Public Safety Employeesp. 87
Data and Methodsp. 89
Permanent Disability Benefit Receipt, by Occupationp. 94
Incentive Effects of Injury Compensationp. 98
Discussionp. 101
Conclusions and Policy Implicationsp. 103
Roundtable Discussion Protocolp. 109
Assessing the Quality of the Match Between the Workers' Compensation and Disability Retirement Datap. 113
Referencesp. 115
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