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Occupational Injury Surveillance Among Law Enforcement Officers Using Workers’ Compensation Data, Illinois 1980 to 2008

Holloway-Beth, Alfreda PhD; Forst, Linda MD, MPH; Freels, Sally PhD; Brandt-Rauf, Sherry JD, MPhil; Friedman, Lee PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 2016 - Volume 58 - Issue 6 - p 594–600
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000708
Original Articles

Objective: Injuries among law enforcement officers are common, but poorly understood; workers’ compensation (WC) data are an underutilized tool for occupational surveillance.

Methods: A stratified analysis of WC claims among four categories of law enforcement officers used descriptive techniques, linear and robust regression.

Results: Eighteen thousand eight hundred ninety-two officers filed claims from 1980 to 2008. Correctional officers had the highest rates, with leading causes of falls and assaults; motor vehicle crashes were the most common cause of injury among state police. Total monetary compensation was lower for correctional officers, but was explained by lower time lost and lower average weekly wage.

Conclusion: The rate and types of injuries varied by subgroups, with correctional officers having the majority of injuries, but lower severity. WC data elucidate causes and outcomes of occupational injuries, which can guide prevention.

Department of Health Studies, Chicago State University, and Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Division, School of Public Health University of Illinois at Chicago (Dr Holloway-Beth); Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health University of Illinois at Chicago (Dr Forst, Brandt-Rauf, Dr Friedman); and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health University of Illinois at Chicago (Dr Freels).

Address correspondence to: Linda Forst, MD, MPH, University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612 (

This project was funded, in part, by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health #U60-009850.

None of the authors have any conflicts of interest that may be relevant to the submitted work.

Copyright © 2016 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine