Occupational safety in the emergency services

The nature of Police and Emergency Service work means that first responders are regularly exposed to potentially traumatic events, putting them at risk of physical injury and may impact their mental health.  This type of work is subject to a combination of stressors, including: shift work; long working hours; repeated exposure to death, trauma and/or violence; difficult interactions with members of the public; high expectations of the profession; high levels of governance; strong cultural pressures; and stigmatising attitudes towards mental health and suicide. Most research on emergency service worker injury has focused on specific injury types or occupational hazards (such as stress, or arrest and restrain in police), and thus there is limited information describing the broader patterns of injuries (and associated costs). This broader understanding is important given that long-term health morbidity and mortality rates in emergency service occupations (such as police) exceed other occupations and the general population. A clear understanding of the nature and characteristics of injuries is important to assist in the development of more effective prevention approaches. This project aims to better understand the nature, characteristics and costs of emergency service worker injuries and near misses.

This thesis would be supervised by Dr Carlyn Muir and Prof Stuart Newstead.

Learn more about our Emergency Services Research Program