Police officers and other law enforcement agents have a notoriously dangerous job. Working a shift at night increases the danger involved in the job, leading to a higher risk of serious injuries. According to HealthDay, the risk of officers working the night shift suffering from injuries on the job is significantly higher than their day-working counterparts.
Even after accounting for gender and age differences that could influence the risk factors, police officers working at night have twice as high a likelihood of experiencing an injury as the afternoon shift and three times that of the day shift. Out of the officers working at night, 10 percent experienced a serious injury that required more than 90 days of medical leave.
According to PubMed Central, there are three major factors associated with working nights that increase the risk of injury for police officers. For one, the calls police receive at night tend to involve more dangerous situations than those during the day. Working shifts of 12 hours, which many who work night shifts do, doubles the risk of becoming injured than working eight hours or less. The chance of injury is even greater when working over consecutive nights.
The circadian disruption that occurs when working at night leads to fatigue that could diminish decision-making skills and overall performance, contributing to an increase in the number of mistakes made. Peak cognitive function is especially critical in situations involving high-risk and ambiguous circumstances in which many police officers find themselves involved.
Night shift police officers who experience an injury are much more likely to require more than 90 days of medical leave than if they were to work during the day. This correlates to more serious injuries occurring at night than during the day.