Washington, DC – Emergency medical services workers have higher rates of work-related injuries than the general workforce and three times the lost workday rate of all private-industry workers, according to a new fact sheet from NIOSH.
Using data gathered from a four-year study of EMS workers, the fact sheets states that more than 22,000 EMS workers are treated in emergency rooms for work-related injuries each year. Other findings:
Full-time workers with less than 10 years of experience were injured most often.
Injuries occurred most frequently while responding to 911 calls (including patient care and transport), and the primary ailments were sprains and strains to the neck and back.
Actions that caused the most injuries were body motion – excessive physical effort, awkward posture or repetitive movement – and exposure to harmful substances (6,000 workers per year apiece), followed by slips, trips and falls (4,000); motor vehicle-related incidents (2,000); and violence/assaults (2,000).
To prevent workplace injuries and exposures, NIOSH recommends employers:
Foster an environment of protection with policies and procedures supporting healthy eating, exercise and plenty of rest.
Provide access to mental health services.
Train workers on safe patient-handling procedures.