NIOSH to Develop Database of Anthropometric Information on Law Enforcement Officers

Published March 29, 2017

NIOSH is proposing a data collection project to assemble a database of anthropometric information on law enforcement officers. The database, which would include the body dimensions of 1,000 law enforcement officers, is intended to improve the design of police cruiser cabins and personal protective equipment (PPE). The manually measured anthropometric data currently being used by designers and manufacturers of police cruisers and personal protective systems was released in 1975 by the National Bureau of Standards. According to NIOSH, much of the data have become outdated due to demographic changes among law enforcement officers that have occurred since that time.

NIOSH recently initiated a national study on law enforcement officer anthropometry that uses both traditional and 3D scanning technologies. The agency explains that traditional anthropometry will allow for easy comparison of data between this and previous studies, and 3D scan information will be used for advanced anthropometric analysis, computer simulation, and modeling.

“Poor equipment fit may compromise protective capabilities of PPE and may result in [law enforcement officers (LEOs)] not wearing the PPE because of discomfort,” the agency’s proposal reads. “By establishing an anthropometric database for LEOs, the designers and manufacturers of these types of equipment will be able to produce more effective products and reduce the problems associated with sizing and stocking these items.”

NIOSH is accepting written comments on its proposal through May 15, 2017. For more information, see the Federal Register notice.

NIOSH researchers previously developed a database of firefighter anthropometric information and published the first-ever federal anthropometric study of U.S. truck drivers.