New Federal Guidance for Injury Prevention
NIOSH (the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) and NHTSA’s Office of EMS have released a new resource to help EMS employers keep their workers safe on the job.
The fact sheet, available here, is titled “Emergency Medical Services Workers: How Employers Can Prevent Injuries and Exposures.” Its background: Over a four-year period, investigators determined that more than 22,000 EMS workers a year visited emergency departments for work-related injuries. That data was published this summer in Prehospital Emergency Care. The new document (DHHS [NIOSH] publication No. 2017-194) offers employers recommendations for preventing injuries and exposures to their personnel.
“Employers need to understand why injuries occur in order to prevent them,” NIOSH notes. “Fewer injuries can result in a healthier workforce and decreased costs to the agency.”
Research also shows EMS workers have higher rates of work-related injuries than the general workforce and three times the lost-workday rate of all private-industry workers. Key findings:
- Full-time workers and workers with less than 10 years’ experience had the most injuries;
- Most injuries occurred while responding to 9-1-1 calls;
- Sprains/strains were the most common injuries; most occurred to the back and neck;
- Body-motion injuries and exposures to harmful substances each hurt 6,000 workers a year, and slips, trips and falls injure another 4,000.
- Reichard AA, Marsh SM, Tonozzi TR, Konda S, Gormley MA. Occupational Injuries and Exposures Among Emergency Medical Services Workers. Prehosp Emerg Care, 2017 Jul–Aug; 21(4): 420–31.