Common police officer hazards and injuries

As a police officer, you spend your days keeping your community safe by patrolling the streets and apprehending criminals. You play a crucial role in the community of Palm Beach County and put yourself at risk each day because your job is inherently dangerous. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, police officers and sheriffs experience over 30,000 nonfatal injuries resulting in time away from work on average each year. 

If you sustain an injury while you are on duty, you may not be able to return to your job while dealing with costly medical expenses. But what type of circumstances and injuries could result in you being part of these statistics? Below are some common hazards and injuries you may experience as a law enforcement officer. 

Police officer hazards and injuries

You may face a variety of hazards while doing your job, including:

  • Overexertion – Back, neck and shoulder pain are common for law enforcement personnel, resulting from sitting for long periods of time, maneuvering with your duty belt or bulletproof vest and making repetitive movements.
  • Violence – You may be the victim of an assault when you are trying to arrest offenders. 
  • Vehicle accidents – Car accidents may occur simply while you are patrolling or during a high-speed pursuit. 
  • Exposure to diseases – You may encounter harmful viruses or diseases when you respond to collisions or medical emergencies.
  • Hazardous chemicals – Handling dangerous chemicals or toxins may be part of your work, such as when you are taking narcotics from a criminal you are apprehending.

These types of incidents can result in injuries or illnesses including:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Strains, sprains or slipped discs
  • Fire or chemical burns
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Broken bones
  • Bruises/contusions
  • Tendonitis
  • Lacerations, cuts or punctures

If you sustain an injury while simply performing your job, whether you are responding to a robbery or driving your patrol car, you may pursue workers' compensation benefits.

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