A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO LAW ENFORCEMENT SAFETY
Finch, Joseph W.
Miller, Patrick E.
Dahl, Erik J.
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The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) requires that employers provide a safe work environment for their employees. Many states have their own plans that follow federal guidelines and that are inclusive of law enforcement officers. Despite this, there are no federal—and few state—regulations that specifically apply to law enforcement. Although they are commonly found in other high-risk professions, expected practices for OSHA-consistent hazard analysis and mitigation do not exist in law enforcement. This thesis highlights the information that is necessary for policy administrators in this field to establish a systematic approach to safety. After reviewing how police departments can improve officer safety by applying OSHA standards, the thesis examines the fire service and the aviation and medical professions. Specifically, the thesis reviews how these professions have applied Dr. James Reason’s principles to create advanced safety systems in high-risk environments. Using OSHA guidelines and standards from other high-risk professions, the thesis constructs a roadmap that, if followed, produces a systematic approach that can create a culture of safety in law enforcement.
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