Emergency medical services workers face significant risks

Emergency medical services workers are at risk of injury on each shift. Not only do they put in long hours that can lead to working while fatigued, they have physically demanding duties. All of these conditions combine to create situations that can lead to injuries.

Using proper body mechanics and paying close attention to what’s going on during each call may reduce the risk of suffering an injury. It might also help these workers to know what types of injuries are prevalent so they can try to avoid them.

Musculoskeletal injuries

Having to lift patients and sometimes carry them considerable distances can lead to musculoskeletal injuries for these workers. Some of them are able to use special stretchers and other equipment to make transferring the patients a little easier. Still, it’s imperative that they use proper body mechanics to help prevent overuse injuries.

Body mechanics are also important when working around patients. For example, staying bent over for long periods of time might lead to lower back injuries, so EMS workers should work to avoid suffering this type of injury.

Exposure hazards

EMS workers are often exposed to illnesses and bodily fluids that contain diseases. Things like needle sticks pose significant risks to these workers. Using basic safety measures, such as wearing gloves and following proper needle precautions can help to prevent exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

These workers also need to be careful when dealing with any other bodily fluids, including urine, feces and respiratory droplets since all of these can transmit disease from an infected person. Wearing personal protective equipment, including gloves, gowns, masks and eye protection can all help the EMS staff to remain safe.

Combative patients

Some patients can become combative. This is sometimes out of fear or due to the effects of drugs. All EMS companies should review their protocol to ensure that they can keep the workers safe. Staff should be adequately trained on what to do if a patient starts to become combative or if they are actively battling with the workers.

Any injured EMS worker should remember that they have a right to workers’ compensation. This covers the cost of medical care and may provide them with partial wage replacement if they can’t return to work right away after the injury. Some EMS workers might have to fight for the benefits they’re due.

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