Police officers on the night shift may be more likely than those on day shifts to suffer injuries on the job.
According to a new study by researchers at the University of Buffalo, urban police officers on the graveyard shift were approximately three times more likely to suffer injuries serious enough to result in leaves of absence of up to 90 days. Nightshift officers also were approximately 2.2 times more likely than officers on afternoon shifts to be injured.
The researchers focused the schedules and risk of injuries faced by police in the city of Buffalo. They found that when night-duty police officers suffer injuries, a ripple effect is felt by officers on the day shift. For instance, when nightshift officers are injured, they are often forced to take long leaves of absence. Other officers may have to work additional shifts to cover for those on leave, which exposes them to stress and health problems.
Nightshift police officers may be at a higher risk of injuries because of sleep disturbance, fatigue and the disruption of the circadian rhythm. All of these can impair decision-making by police officers who find themselves in dangerous situations and must react quickly.
Atlanta police are not the only workers at risk of injuries related to the night shift. Manufacturing employees, nurses, emergency workers, security workers, those in the entertainment and recreation industry, couriers, transportation workers and employees at call centers often work at night. As a result, they may face workplace accidents affecting their safety and health.
Better training can lessen the effects of shift-based routines. Employers can also avoid placing workers on permanent night shifts, develop appropriate work schedules that are designed to avoid fatigue and strain, ensure adequate supervision of workers on the nightshift, and allow adequate rest between shifts.