Experience Brings Results

Study: Emergency medical workers more prone to workplace injury

Emergency medical services (EMS) employees have a higher rate of work-related injuries compared with the general workforce, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The four-years of research concluded that an estimated 22,000 EMS workers annually visit emergency rooms for work-related injuries -- the most common being sprains and strains to the back and neck.

Some injury causes

Such injuries typically occur in response to a 911 call. The main reasons include:

  • Body motion such as excessive physical effort and repetitive motion
  • Exposure to harmful substances
  • Slips, trips and fall
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Violence/assaults

NIOSH has assembled a fact sheet on the topic, and encourages employers to promote an improved culture of safety.

Recommendations for prevention

Some of the U.S. government agency's recommendations include:

  • Create workplace policies that promote safety, health and well-being
  • Promote safe patient handling techniques such as teaching workers the proper way to lift and transport patients
  • Protect workers from exposure to blood and other potentially infectious body fluids
  • Prevent slips, trips and falls by setting policies requiring workers to wear durable, slip-resistant footwear
  • Improve motor vehicle safety by requiring use of safety belts, prohibiting texting, and providing vehicle operating training
  • Prevent patient-related violence by providing de-escalation and self-defense training to reduce risk

These recommendations would likely benefit any worker at our health care facilities. Let's focus on prevention and education. Fewer injuries will likely be the result.

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