Occupational injuries among police workers: patterns and contributing factors in an Australian jurisdiction

Carlyn Muir, Khic Houy Prang, Dianne Sheppard, Sharon Newnam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Police are regularly exposed to potentially traumatic events, which puts them at risk of physical and psychological injury. International evidence suggests that police have high injury rates relative to other occupations, however most research either focuses on specific situations (e.g., use of force); specific injury causes (e.g., weapons); or specific injury types (e.g. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder). Few studies have focused on understanding injury patterns across the workforce. Thus, the primary objective of this paper was to describe the rate, mechanisms, type and costs of occupational injuries experienced by police in one Australian jurisdiction. Using administrative workers’ compensation claims data, claims records of police were examined for the period 2003/04–2011/12. Descriptive analyses were conducted to characterise the distribution of first and subsequent claims, stratified by claim type (minor, medical and time loss). Rates were calculated using labour force statistics (per 1000 full-time equivalent workers). This study described a number of factors associated with the incidence of injury among police. Over the study period, there was a decrease in first claim rates and an increase in subsequent claim rates across all claim types. Key findings to inform prevention strategies included that younger males (in the 35–44 year age groups) made the most claims, and the greatest proportion of injuries for medical and time loss claims were caused by body stressing (e.g., lifting, carrying). Future research linking corporate statistics to operational/incident information would be beneficial to understand the specific incident factors that are important in outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104525
Number of pages8
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

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