"I love loyalty, but I don't love blood on the desk because you're hurt, but you want to make sure you get the report done," Lundy said. He recommends that sick employees stay home and those who are injured stay out until they are healed.
A back injury on average costs in excess of $26,000 factoring in lost wages, medical care and therapy, Lundy said. Severe injuries, however they are inflicted, can end careers.
"What a shame to have a good EMT or medic not return to work," Lundy said. "If you're old like me, it's not such a big deal, but if you're 22 or 24 and you can't do your job anymore because of an injury, that's devastating."
That's why he said all provider organizations must focus on a culture of safety. Problems must be identified and everyone from the top to the bottom must recognize the problem and embrace the solution for it to be effective, Lundy said.
Employers will want to see cost savings, whether is town officials looking to reduce taxes, or a private provider who wants to see changes in profit and losses, Lundy said. And, employees must "take the project seriously" and understand the benefit not only to the agency, but to themselves as well.
When changes are implemented, they should be reviewed after the first 30 days, and again at 90 days and then at six months.
"If there's no improvement, you're going to have to try something else," Lundy said. "There's no point in trading one problem for another."
Ed Ballam is a staff writer for the EMS World news team.