Hazard Assessment for
Law Enforcement Agencies
No Matter what Colors you Fly
Law Enforcement Agencies
Law enforcement agencies and members
world wide are now considering after years
of serious injury and or death incidents we
need to ALL TALK about job hazards, job
risks and how to CONTROL the events
contained within our shifts better so
everyone goes home safe and not in a box
or a ambulance.
Defining Risk Management in
Hazards and risks are prevalent in the workplace but never more so than in law
enforcement. In providing protection to the populous and simultaneously
working to prevent criminal acts, risk is a guarantee on a daily basis in the law
But what is risk management? Recognizing the term and understanding what it
means, however, are two entirely different things. Ask any number of people to
tell you what risk management is and you’ll get a variety of different responses,
• A safety program
• A security program
• Insurance issues
• Claims management
• Contract management
• Human resources
Our definition of risk management for the purposes of this powerpoint is a
system of identifying assets that need protection, liabilities that need to be
controlled and arranging for the proper mix of loss prevention, risk finance and
It is not just writing tickets
Another issue that makes risk management in your profession
challenging is that law enforcement by nature is a difficult and often
thankless job. In most circumstances, officers are forced to deal with
multiple, contradictory goals. Law Enforcement agencies/departments
are almost always at the mercy of political cross-pressures by
competing constituencies. For example:
• Should law enforcement agencies enforce the law or focus on crime
• Should they investigate traffic accidents or issue speeding tickets?
• Making the job even more difficult is the lack of public confidence.
Over the years, surveys have indicated a significant erosion of
public trust. Law enforcement officers simply are not trusted as they
• Finally, on a daily basis we deal with “clients” whose mental and
behavioral characteristics make them difficult to serve. If they could,
most of them would rather avoid our “services!”
Four Pages of Risk but not limited too
• Law enforcement liability - This includes civil rights
issues such as use-of-force and wrongful arrest.
• Employment liability - Some of the very worst
employment liability claims against government
entities arise from law enforcement agencies.
• Operation of motor vehicles - Motor vehicles represent
a significant risk to the public and to officers. High-
speed response and vehicular pursuit scenarios are
sometimes necessary, but officers should understand
the consequences of making a mistake.
• Line-of-duty injuries to officers - The fourth area is that
of on-the-job injuries covered under worker’s
Law Enforcement Elements of Risk
Know the areas most likely to result in litigation
• Know the law
• Screening, selection and placement
• Policies and procedures
Like it or NOT
We are also protected under government safety
standards even with the dangers of the job: OH&S
has concluded that effective management of worker
safety and health protection is a decisive factor in
reducing the extent and the severity of work-related
injuries and illnesses. Effective management
addresses all work-related hazards, including the
potential hazards that could result from a change
in worksite conditions or practices. Additionally, it
addresses hazards whether or not they are regulated
by government standards.”
A lot of capital goes into our
training why not our protection
Personnel are a department’s most valuable resource.
Departments invest a large amount of resources in
hiring, training, and maintaining personnel, with
some law enforcement executives estimating
upward of 80 percent of their operating budgets are
allocated for personnel costs. The health and safety
of peace officer personnel is critical to ensure the
department can operate effectively and achieve its
mission of public safety. Most experts agree that
officers who are healthy are less likely to suffer
injuries at work, are more likely to return to duty
quickly, and are more satisfied with their
Liability Knocks more than once
In the absence of an effective occupational
health and safety program, the employer may
face liability lawsuits. Occupational health and
safety programs may help reduce liability and
the number of lawsuits against a department.
For example, physically fit officers may be more
likely to use less forceful tactics when faced
with a situation that has potential for excessive
Key points of consensus were that:
1. Law enforcement needs a comprehensive approach to occupational
health and safety that includes three basic components:
a. Awareness of and education about existing and new health and
safety threats that employees may face;
b. Equipment and programs that can help prevent illness and injury;
c. Training on proper use of equipment and other steps that can be
taken to reduce the risk associated with these threats.
2. This comprehensive approach needs to be proactive in nature and
lay the foundation for addressing day-to-day needs rather than only
being reactive or in response to emergency situations.
3. Making occupational health and safety routine requires a culture
change within the department which may take time. However,
transitioning to a culture of health and safety now can help ensure a
department’s resilience during a major incident, such as a pandemic flu,
and help mitigate the impact on the department.
Having the right components of an
occupational health and safety program is
more important than its formal organization
in the department. A review or “gap
analysis” of a department’s current
programs and policies will allow an agency
to determine how closely its efforts meet the
basic tenets of “knowledge,” “prevention and
control,” and “maintenance and
3 Pillars of Pre-knowledge
Assess and Know your Agency
What additional programs or initiatives must or should be implemented? Do
these efforts cover both routine and exceptional threats to personnel
health and safety?
A department should determine its own “state of health,” and identify
the health and safety threats that most impact its personnel. To accomplish
this, existing department data can be a useful resource, such as data
on traffic accidents, on-the-job injuries and exposures, absentee rates, use
of sick leave, job satisfaction, physical exams, immunization levels, insurance
usage, and workers compensation requests. Such data can also be
used to establish a baseline for measuring the impacts of new programs
and for surveillance purposes down the road
Tools and Knowledge that protects
Legislative and Other Standards
Law enforcement officials must research and understand applicable
legislative and other standards to ensure that their OHS programs meet
certain basic requirements. Once these minimum standards are met,
an executive can determine if more extensive actions are appropriate
to meet the full health and safety needs of his/her personnel.
Documents and Procedures
Existing department documents and agency procedures should be
reviewed to determine if existing efforts can be applied to an OHS
program or if they need to be altered to better serve the agency from a
health and safety perspective. Many existing procedures and programs
can be found from other agencies or off the net
PPE and What Changes
In the event of an emergency, resources could
become scarce and difficult to obtain. It is critical to
thoroughly examine the agency’s PPE, including
• expiration dates (if applicable) and purchasing
schedules, and check
• inventory amounts to determine if the current
inventory is sufficient to meet the requirements of
personnel and circumstances.
• Additionally, are there sufficient plans in place to
obtain additional PPE if needed?
Control and Prevention not
Control and Restriction
Control and prevention is the second component of a
comprehensive occupational health and safety program;
it involves eliminating threats or minimizing the risk or
impact of threats that cannot be eliminated. These efforts
can come in many forms: policies, standards, equipment,
training, educational efforts and partnerships, to name a
few. These efforts may mandate safety procedures or
provide health, safety, and wellness programs;
equipment and training; and educational efforts aimed at
department personnel, their families, and the community
at large; as well as encourage and facilitate partnerships
to ensure safety and wellness.
Partnerships and Brother Agencies
OHS prevention efforts should include strengthening
existing partnerships and creating new ones with
other agencies in the community. As mentioned , a
department should consider reaching out to local
hospitals, clinics, universities, fire departments, EMS
or other local organizations.
Experts from these fields can assist law enforcement
leaders with legislation, equipment, and training. As
many have found, planning efforts themselves are
one way to build and strengthen partnerships like the
Talk is Cheap Its above invaluable
• Another important factor for reducing risk
for law enforcement is disseminating
accurate, timely information containing
For example, a department might send out
an interdepartmental email reminder about
routine safety efforts like hand-washing
during flu season.
Key Questions in Prevention
• What equipment should every officer have?
• Would available equipment differ by unit or officer specialty?
• Where should the equipment be stored and how is it replaced
after use or expiration?
• What cleaning requirements will be necessary?
• What equipment is needed for critical incidents such as
chemical, biological, emergencies and public health emergencies
such as pandemic influenza?
• What training will be required for personnel to learn to use the
• How often and what type of equipment inspection will be
Training and Education:
• What OHS-specific trainings should the department have in
• What kind of OHS training should all personnel receive?
––What kind of OHS training should front-line supervisors and
command staff receive?
• How often should personnel be trained?
• Who will be in charge of training personnel?
• How should training be delivered (e.g., electronically, in a
• Which personnel (e.g., all personnel, just officers, special units)
should be trained?
• Should the type and level of training differ by unit or law
It’s a Green Document Update it!
Update Plans and Policies:
• What lessons learned from local and national incidents can be
incorporated into the department’s health and safety policies?
• Are there new health and safety standards that need to be
incorporated into the department’s current standards?
• How can the department acquire and make use of personnel
feedback on occupational health and safety services?
• How can the department ensure that occupational health plans
and polices are regularly updated to keep pace with new
standards and emerging issues?
• Who is in charge of updating the plans?
• How often should the plans be updated?
Employers and Employees
Not them and us!
Employees may feel more confident to report for duty in a department led by an
• Supports occupational health;
• Sets clear and realistic expectations regarding the law enforcement role in a
public health emergency; and
• Understands the inherent associated threats and risk to personnel,
and has programs and policies in place to reduce personnel risk.
Employees who feel that precautions are in place to safeguard their
health while on the job are more likely to come in to work. Additionally, if
employees know that their loved ones are safe and cared for, they will feel
more comfortable leaving their families when reporting for duty during an
emergency. Having strong, organized health and safety programs in place
will help employees feel protected in their work environment; establishing
family preparedness plans will provide employees with peace of mind
Employers need to;
• Emphasizing local control, based on the needs of
• Developing collaborations and partnerships.
• Providing targeted training and technical
• Promoting capacity building through planning.
• Streamlining the administration of grants.
• Creating accountability of projects.
• Encouraging innovation.
• Communicating the value of justice efforts to
decision makers at every level.
Do the REAL Risk Assessment
Force risk assessments cannot be expected to cover all
local circumstances and/or hazards peculiar to a
particular operation or work activity. Councils, line
managers and supervisors, including safety coordinators,
hold responsibility for ensuring that a suitable and
sufficient risk assessment is carried out in respect of the
work/operational activities of officers and staff under their
command/control. If these activities are not covered
adequately within Force or Department risk assessments
then a new Local risk assessment using the proforma
and matrix published within the Health and Safety
website must be carried out following the accompanying
Follow the Hierarchy of Control
It is not just a one hour exercise in
As operational incidents unfold and develop there will be
new hazards encountered and revised/additional control
measures needed. Under these circumstances the risk
assessment process must be a continuous appreciation
of changing circumstances. This normally involves
identification and consideration of all potential hazards
associated with an incident, a mental assessment of the
level of risk and selection of an appropriate course of
action, which minimizes the potential for harm/injury.
Dynamic risk assessments are not usually recorded but it
is important that any lessons are learnt and feedback is
provided where appropriate.
Take a big look what are you
• Managers who have control of buildings are to continually monitor levels of
workplace safety, particularly precautionary arrangements for control of any
fire risk present, storage of hazardous substances and means of emergency
access and egress. Any unsafe condition identified should be rectified and
remedial action taken must be recorded and made available for auditing.
• All supervisors are to maintain close liaison with the peace officers and staff
including volunteers, who come under their control/influence, making sure
they are provided with appropriate information, instruction and training in
respect of all foreseeable hazards, which they may encounter. Supervisors
must also ensure that items of personal protective equipment (PPE)
provided, are used/worn correctly.
• Periodic inspections of all places of work are to be carried out by the local
H&S Coordinator in conjunction with management and staff associations.
Frequency of these inspections will be determined by the significance of
hazards present but will be carried out at least annually (3-monthly in
custody). Inspection reports should be filed and made available for auditing.
The BIG page to prevention
• A suitable and sufficient assessment is made
of the risks to the health and safety of
employees whilst at work, and other persons
who could be affected by their work activities.
• Significant findings of the risk assessment
• Risk assessments are reviewed following any
significant change, when there is reason to
suspect that they are no longer valid and in
any case – every 12-months
Do the risk assessment because
we are part of your municipality
Law enforcement agencies and their personnel
engage in a variety of activities on a daily basis
which involve, and sometimes create, a multitude of
hazardous situations. These hazards are both
physical and financial. The potential impact of these
hazards is not just to the individuals but to the
organization as well. The liability is not limited to
those associated with the agency but also extends
outward to the agency's external clients. The
overarching authority of the organization (local, state,
or federal government), the people, those working
within the organization, and those served by it, are
Hazards Vs. Unsafe Behavior
• Unsafe behavior sometimes leads to
unsafe conditions that can cause
– Consider Maintenance Operations
• Unsafe behaviors may show weakness in
the safety management system.
Effective Worksite Analysis
• Worksite analysis involves a variety of worksite
examinations, to identify not only existing hazards,
but also conditions and operations where changes
might occur to create hazards
• Effective management actively analyzes the work
and the worksite to anticipate and prevent harmful
Plan for Worksite Analysis
• Comprehensive Facility
• Change Analysis
• Routine Job Hazard
• Periodic and Daily
• Change analysis is simply the management of change in
the work environment.
• Changes in the following items need to be reviewed:
– Process Technology
Job Hazard Analysis
• A job hazard analysis is a technique that focuses on job
tasks as a way to identify hazards before they occur.
• It focuses on the relationship between the worker, the
task, the tools, and the work environment.
• After uncontrolled hazards are identified, take action to
eliminate them or reduce risk.
Job Hazard Analysis
• Performing a job hazard analysis is one of
the best methods to develop safe work
procedures for the equipment that is
• The JHA can also be used to train
employees in the hazards associated with
task and what control measures should be
Involvement of Employees
• They have a unique understanding of the
job, and this knowledge is invaluable for
• Involving employees will help minimize
oversights, ensure a quality analysis.
• Get workers to “buy in” to the solutions
because they will share ownership
• Discuss with employees the hazards that they know exist.
• Brainstorm with them for ideas to eliminate or control
• If any hazards exist that pose an immediate danger, to
an employee’s life or health, take immediate action to
protect the worker.
• Any problems that can be corrected easily should be
corrected as soon as possible.
Outline the Steps
• Watch the employee perform the job and list each step
as the worker takes it.
• Be sure to record enough information to describe each
job action without getting overly detailed.
• Avoid making the breakdown of steps so detailed that it
becomes unnecessarily long or so broad that it does not
include basic steps.
Identifying the Hazards
• A job hazard analysis is an exercise in
detective work. Your goal is to discover
– What can go wrong?
– What are the consequences?
– How could it arise?
– What are other contributing factors?
– How likely is it that the hazard will occur?
• Trends need to analyzed over time to
identify any emerging patterns of injury
and intervene to prevent its recurrence.
• Review injury records over time
• What items should be trended over time to
determine any emerging pattern?
What is a Task Analysis Tool
• A narrative, quantitative and/or checklist
system that provides a standardized evaluation
of a job/task
• Tools based on biomechanical and
physiological information compiled and
calculated providing a relative risk of
• Can be specific for body region and/or
Types of Analysis Tools
• Easy to use
• Less time consuming
• Minimal training
• Very sensitive: One check,
task must be considered
• Worksite hazard analysis consists of:
– Change analysis
– Workplace inspections
– Hazard Reporting
– Trend Analysis
• Effective programs will result in the identification of
potential and existing hazards.