Emergency medical technicians or EMTs and paramedics, who provide basic and advanced life support services, have one of the most dangerous and injury-prone jobs in the country. This is according to researchers and federal workplace safety data that was recently released, which shows these emergency responders suffer injuries requiring treatment in the emergency room at a rate four times higher than workers in all other professions in the United States.
What the Study Shows
The study was conducted by a researcher at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and showed that between eight and nine out of every 100 EMTs and paramedics are treated in the hospital for an occupational injury. That’s compared to two out of every 100 workers in all other professions. Experts say these workers are being hurt by “bodily motion injuries” and that is mostly due to lifting patients. Emergency workers do a considerable amount of kneeling, bending and lifting on the job – movements that leave them prone to back injuries and sprains. The study also found that injuries to the trunk and neck were most common.
The second most common cause of emergency room treatment for EMTs and paramedics is exposure to harmful substances such as blood and body fluids, or being spit on. Exposure incidents account for about 27 percent of injuries suffered by these workers. Also, assaults account for a smaller portion of injuries suffered, though being attacked on the job happens much more often to paramedics and EMTs than people in other lines of work.
Other Types of Injuries
Hearing loss is also another risk paramedics and EMTs face. Studies show these workers are likely to suffer excessive hearing loss due to constant exposure to loud noises such as air horns, apparatus, engines, sirens, and power tools used for forced entry and extrication work.
Needless to say, paramedics and EMTs also face emotional and mental trauma from constantly dealing with life-or-death situations. These experiences may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition characterized by severe anxiety, nightmares and depression. Paramedics tend to feel extreme psychological stress about making critical decisions within seconds or responding to an emergency situation. Other significant psychological effects result from poor sleep patterns and dealing with bureaucratic management command structures.
Compensation for Work-Related Injuries
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a guidance document stating best practices for emergency responders, which addresses proper training and personal protective equipment for these responders, especially in dangerous situations such as when they help victims of hazardous substance release incidents. Emergency workers who protect the lives of victims during dangerous situations – whether it’s an auto accident or a hazardous materials incident – should not have to face the risk of becoming victims themselves simply because they lack proper training and personal protective equipment.
If you are an emergency responder who has been injured on the job, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, which typically cover all medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. In addition, depending on the nature and circumstances of the incident, you may be able to file a third-party claim against a party (or parties) other than your employer or co-employees and seek compensation for injuries, damages and losses sustained, and therefore have a second way to collect money.
In such cases, a third party may be a negligent (careless) motorist who struck the emergency worker, a person who assaulted a responder, etc. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to medical expenses, lost income and benefits, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
Our law firm recovered $3,375,576 for a construction worker (an undocumented immigrant) who was injured on the job – one of the highest construction case settlements in New York that year. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:
1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
Please visit us at: www.WORK4YOULAW.com
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