Emergency medical services workers, such as paramedics and EMTs, have one of the most demanding and rewarding jobs. For every life they save, however, they face numerous risks of injury and even fatality, giving the industry a significantly higher injury rate than the national average.
If you work in the EMS field, it is important to be aware of the most common sources of danger you may experience on the job. Doing so can help you prevent an accident or injury and recognize when you have a workers' compensation claim.
Motor vehicle accidents
Naturally, being on the road constantly brings a high risk of getting into an accident. Your fast speeds and the negligence of other motorists increase the risk even more because you must make more reckless driving maneuvers. Always wear a seat belt, even in the patient compartment, and make sure all equipment is secure.
The most common task on the job is lifting patients. This leads to sprains and strains in your back, neck and shoulders, the highest occurring injuries for EMS workers. According to Science Daily, recent research has shown that powered stretchers may decrease musculoskeletal injuries by 78 percent.
Your duties expose you to bodily fluids, infectious diseases, dangerous equipment and toxic chemicals. Proper training and following of procedures can reduce the chances of hazardous contact with such substances.
Other common sources
You may also deal with the following:
- Patient violence
- Slips and falls
- Punctures and lacerations
- Animal attacks
Other risk factors include age, gender and work experience.
You do not need to leave the field to protect yourself. If accident or injury happens despite your safe practices, you can pursue a workers' compensation claim. It is important to follow these preliminary steps to ensure you receive proper medical care, build a strong case for the best outcome and maintain your employment.