Cover: Occupational Safety and Health for Public Safety Employees

Occupational Safety and Health for Public Safety Employees

Assessing the Evidence and the Implications for Public Policy

Published Nov 17, 2008

by Tom LaTourrette, David S. Loughran, Seth A. Seabury


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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.

This research was co-sponsored by the California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and was conducted under the auspices of the RAND Institute for Civil Justice (ICJ) and the Safety and Justice Program within RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment (ISE).

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