EMS workers face injury while treating others’ injuries

Mar 09 2018

In emergency situations, the public relies on emergency medical services (EMS) workers to arrive at the scene and treat any injuries. EMS workers play a crucial role in providing first aid, urgent medical care and transporting patients to hospitals and other facilities. Many of the people who have had their injuries treated my emergency medical personnel rarely consider that these workers often face serious injury themselves—especially while on the job.

Like any other occupation, working in emergency medical services poses the risk of injury and illness. The CDC reports that emergency medical services has a higher rate of work-related injuries than the general workforce. In fact, last year more than 22,000 EMS workers visited emergency medical services for work-related injuries.

Common injuries in emergency medical services

The CDC has collected extensive statistics on the many different types of injuries that affected EMS personnel. Of these, two are tied for most common. The others, while less frequent, still affected thousands of workers.

  • Motion-related injuries

Approximately 6,000 workers suffered injuries due to body motion. Injuries involving lifts composed half of these injuries, which also encompass strains, sprains and repetitive stress injuries. Most of these affected the trunk of the victim’s body

  • Harmful exposure

Medical professionals try to maintain sanitary conditions not only for their patients, but for themselves. Being exposed to harmful substance can cause serious injury. There were 6,000 injuries that resulted from EMS workers being exposed to dangerous substances such as blood, respiratory secretions and other bodily fluids.

  • Slip and falls

EMS workers are required to move swiftly, often over slippery or uneven terrain, to reach their patients. As a result, some workers injure themselves by slipping, tripping and falling on the job. These accidents numbered over 4,000 in 2017.

  • Motor vehicle accidents

Ambulances are crucial tools for transporting patients. But there are some instances where ambulances can also cause harm: Over 2,000 EMS personnel were injured in motor vehicle accidents, often involving ambulances that made sudden stops, swerved or even crashed.