Law Enforcement Worker Health

By Kasanof, Adam | Law & Order, October 2004 | Go to article overview

Law Enforcement Worker Health


Kasanof, Adam, Law & Order


Occupational medicine, which deals with safety in the workplace, is critical in law enforcement. Issues ranging from exposure to HIV, to avoiding radiation risks from dirty bombs are all part of occupational medicine. The book, Clinics in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Law Enforcement Worker Health, is an excellent introduction to a wide range of areas.

This anthology was edited by Stephen M. Hessl, MD, and Richard J. Miller, MD under the title Clinics in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Volume three.

"Introduction to the History, Demographics, and Health Effects of Law Enforcement Work," by Stephen Hessl provides good background information on the number of law enforcement personnel and agencies around the country, and about some general health issues in law enforcement, including such important topics as suicide and cardiovascular disease.

"Ergonomics and Safety in Law Enforcement," by Fabrice Czarenecki discusses many issues, including training safety, body armor, first aid kits, accidental shootings, noise protection, gloves, eyeglasses, and even how to select a duty belt to minimize discomfort and back pain, which can be serious problems, given the weight of gear officers must now carry on their belts.

"Chemical Hazards in Law Enforcement," by Fabrice Czarnecki discusses pepper spray and lead exposure at firing ranges, and includes vital tips on safely investigating clandestine drug labs. Anyone with an interest in safety at clandestine laboratories should also contact the DEA, which has training materials and courses available on this subject.

"Biologic Agents of Terrorism," by Aubrey Miller provides an overview of biologic agents that can be used for terrorism, including Anthrax, botulinum toxin, plague, smallpox, tularemia, and viral hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola, Marburg, and Lassa fevers.

"The Initial Approach to a Chemical and Nuclear Terrorism Event," by Jerrold Leikin discusses the risks to first responders at such incidents, and looks at various types of gear and protective equipment for responding as safely as possible to these events.

"Infectious Diseases and Law Enforcement," by Linda McCauley talks about several commonly encountered infectious diseases, including tuberculosis, HIV, and hepatitis, and how officers can reduce the risks of exposure to these diseases.

"Diabetes in Law Enforcement Officers," by Pamela Allweiss discusses the major issues that arise when officers have diabetes, and includes information on how officers with diabetes can better manage their condition.

"Asthma in Law Enforcement," by Craig Glazer talks about issues of importance regarding officers with asthma including diagnosis and treatment, and information on how officers with asthma can better manage it. …

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