Shifts, Extended Work Hours and Fatigue: Assessment of Health, Personal Risks for Police Officers

Title: Shifts, Extended Work Hours and Fatigue: An Assessment of Health and Personal Risks for Police Officers

Principal Investigator: John Violanti, PhD

Funding Agency: NIJ

Period: 10/01/05 - 06/30/10

Abstract: The physical health, psychological well-being, safety and efficiency at work are important factors for any police agency to consider. Little is known of the long term impact of shift work and extended work hours on police officers, and no direct detailed exposure assessment of work/shift hours has yet been done.

The primary goal of this investigation is to examine the number of hours, shift work, and overtime hours that police officers have worked over their entire careers and the association of such exposure with adverse outcomes such as disease, accidents, work errors, psychological anomalies such as stress, PTSD or depression, and mortality.

This study will examine two groups of police officers. The first will be an entire police agency (Buffalo, NY Police Department) of currently employed officers presently under study for health and stress factors (n=700). The goal is to assess career-length work hour/shift impact on health morbidity, stress, accidents, injuries, and personal outcomes of fatigue in this group of officers. Analysis will consider outcomes of subclinical disease based on career length work hours/shift work, sleep quality, stress biomarkers (cortisol) and other work and lifestyle covariates such as physical activity, diet, smoking and alcohol abuse. The second group will consist of a 60-year mortality cohort of police officers, 1950 to 2004. The mortality cohort will be used to assess the impact of work/shift hours on causes of death among police officers. An exposure matrix will be developed as a potential tool to establish health and work risks as they might relate to work hours/shift work in other populations.