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Emergency responders at high risk to miss work because of injuries
Date:1/7/2008

COLUMBUS , Ohio New research suggests that at any given time, almost 10 percent of the emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics in the United States miss work because of injuries and illnesses they suffered on the job.

A study examining how common these injuries are and tracking new cases of work-related injuries and illnesses in these professionals also suggests that in one year, an estimated 8.1 of every 100 emergency responders will suffer an injury or illness forcing them to miss work. Compared to data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of injuries requiring work absence among these first responders far exceeds the national average of 1.3 per 100 lost-work injury cases reported in 2006.

The study also identified work-related and health conditions most likely to lead to injuries, which included responding to a high volume of emergency calls, working in bigger cities and having a history of back problems. Researchers conducting the study say that knowing how common severe injuries are in this population will help guide interventions designed to reduce the risks of injury.

There is a relatively high incidence of lost-work injuries among emergency medical services professionals, and those injuries are related to the work they do. We may be able to target specific risks and make changes to see if we can affect those injuries, said first author Jonathan Studnek, a Ph.D. candidate in epidemiology at Ohio State University. The ultimate goal is to find a way to reduce injuries. But first we have to understand how big a problem it is.

The study is published in the December issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

Studnek and colleagues selected data from the Longitudinal Emergency Medical Technician Attributes and Demographics Study, an annual survey created in 1998 by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administ
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Contact: John "Mac" Crawford
mcrawford@cph.osu.edu
614-293-6804
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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