Study Finds Long Shifts Cause Injuries to EMS Workers
An observational study published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine argues emergency service workers (EMS) workers are at high risk for injuries due to extremely long work hours. In some cases, EMS workers are forced to perform 24-hour shifts. As part of the job description, EMS workers are required to respond to high-stress situations, in addition to moving patients. The combination of job responsibilities and long work hours is a perfect recipe for disaster.
Researchers found that EMS employees with shifts over 12 hours are 60 percent more likely to suffer injuries. In addition, the longer the shift, the more the risk of injury increases. Workers with 24-hour shifts had double the risk of injury in comparison to EMS employees with 8-hour shifts. To gather data for study, researchers investigated 4,000 EMS workers over the course of three years.
Much like other healthcare workers, EMS employees are at high risk for musculoskeletal injuries while moving patients. Although hospitals are adopting new policies and installing equipment capable of moving patients, EMS workers may not have the same luxury. EMS workers are required to drive around responding to medical emergencies. In a hospital setting, the option of using slings to move patients can prevent injuries, but it is difficult to perform the same feat in the back of ambulances.
Can Injured EMS Employees Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits?
Depending on the severity of the injury, EMS workers might be unable to return to their occupation. Fortunately, EMS workers may be able to receive workers’ compensation or disability benefits while transitioning to another career.
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