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Stress and fatigue — deadly forces in a police officer’s life

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2018 | High Risk Occupations |

If you are a member of the police force in California, you may suffer the consequences of a lack of sleep and an overload of stress. It is the kind of job that takes everything you have to offer and then asks for more. You may spend months of doing shift work, or confuse your body by rotating day and night shifts, all to the detriment of your overall health.

If you work when your family sleeps and sleep when they work, you may also find it difficult to maintain a healthy diet. Along with occupational fatigue and stress, you could be heading for serious health problems. Fortunately, the workers’ compensation insurance program may cover your medical expenses and lost income.

The health hazards of shift work

Healthy sleeping habits are not only a necessity for overall health but also for workplace safety. Tiredness and fatigue can jeopardize your ability to make challenging decisions on the go, and it could inhibit your immune system. Your body naturally wants to sleep when it is dark. Even if you have a cool, comfortable place to sleep during the day, the typical daytime noises of your family and street activities can disrupt your sleep. Insufficient or interrupted sleep can affect your health in the following ways:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Compromised mental faculties
  • Occupational injuries
  • Depression
  • Tense relationships
  • Mood swings
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease

Psychological and physical stress

You are not likely have the opportunity to deliver good news — instead, providing bad news may be part of your daily life. It is not strange that the high levels of stress and demands that officers face often lead to serious physical and psychological problems. The following are just some of the situations you likely encounter during every shift:

  • Scenes of dismemberment and death
  • Aggressive individuals
  • Combative traffic violators
  • Individuals that are depressed, furious, distressed, or miserable
  • Uncertainty and fear of being killed
  • Fear of the prospect of having to take another person’s life
  • Not knowing what to expect with every encounter

The consequences some police officers suffer

The stress and fatigue of police work cause some members of the police force in California to develop obesity, insomnia, dreaded diseases such as cancer or they may even contemplate suicide. Other consequences include high blood pressure, potential stroke, type 2 diabetes with resistance to insulin and abdominal obesity.

Safety authorities such as NIOSH have guidelines to help police officers to maintain bodily health.

Help is available

You may find it comforting to learn that there are legal resources to help you obtain the benefits you deserve from the workers’ compensation program of California — even for psychological problems.