Workers in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are typically associated with saving lives and rescuing people from catastrophic injury. However, it is important to remember that emergency services take on a certain level of risk themselves.
Research suggests that over 20,000 EMS workers visit emergency rooms each year because of work-related injuries. This makes injuries among paramedics a topic that warrants further examination.
Outlined below are some of the more common types of injuries associated with EMS work:
Injuries resulting from physical strain
The work involved in EMS requires constant bodily motion and physical effort. Staff are often on the move, lifting and utilizing equipment or assisting those with injuries. Such exertions have the potential to cause injuries to the back and neck, which can make continuing to work an impossible prospect.
Injuries sustained from falling
Even at the best of times, transporting a patient from the site of an incident to the emergency room can be hazardous. EMS workers have to navigate their way in and out of the ambulance with a patient, which is far from easy. Additionally, they may have to negotiate tall stairways, uneven surfaces as well as slippery surfaces while attending to a patient.
The nature of EMS work means that staff members are routinely exposed to harmful substances. Some patients may have a history of substance abuse, meaning that they have a needle on their person. If an EMS worker fails to notice this, they could end up catching a disease from a stray needle prick.
The health industry has a duty to protect its staff as well as patients. If you have been injured on the job as an EMS worker, you might wish to explore your legal rights in California.