Law enforcement is the profession with the highest rate of workplace accidents in Iceland, RÚV reports. Police officers in the country are 10-12 times more likely to get injured than construction workers. In 2010 police registered 44 workplace accidents per 1,000 employees, while in 2015 the number had jumped to 164 out of 1,000.
Due to the nature of police work, direct oversight of employee safety is impossible to carry out. The Administration of Occupational Safety and Health in Iceland (AOSH) has been in contact with police in Iceland and held a conference last year on the matter.
“The most common accidents among police officers are some sort of blow that occurs more often than not during conflict or attacks from people,” says Guðmundur Kjerúlf, an assistant department director at AOSH. “All attacks are classified as work accidents. Statistics tell us that police officers get injured by far the most often of everyone in the country.”
Frímann Birgir Baldursson, deputy chairman of the Police Federation of Iceland, says the dangerous nature of police work is the reason for the high rate of accidents in the profession. Police officers often get injured when arresting aggressive individuals and also spend a lot of time in traffic, he adds.
In most cases, police officers return to work shortly after an accident occurs, though there are cases of officers taking several months’ leave as a result of injury and leaving the job altogether.