Emergency Medicine: Open Access

Emergency Medicine: Open Access
Open Access

ISSN: 2165-7548

+44 1223 790975


The Prevalence of Work-related Injuries and Exposures amongst Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians: A Literature Review

Naif Mohammad M Harthi and Pauline Rachman

Objectives: To identify work-related injuries and exposures amongst paramedics and emergency medical technicians, along with their consequences, injury events, and the factors that cause them.
Methods: A computerised online literature search for papers published on or after 2013 was conducted on the following databases: AMED, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Delphis, NIHR Journals Library, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I: Health & Medicine, and Science Direct, using the following keywords and their synonyms: ‘prehospital staff’, ‘work-related injuries’ and ‘prehospital settings’. 1557 studies were identified and reviewed. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were then applied to leave a total of fifteen papers, from which seven duplicates were then removed.
The final set of eight papers were appraised and their results coded using thematic analysis.
Findings: The eight qualitative, quantitative, and multi-methods papers were critically appraised using three HCPRDU evaluation tools, summarised, and given a grading score; all the papers were rated as yielding either moderate or low-quality evidence.
Conclusions: Musculoskeletal injuries are a common occupational injury that can lead to work dissatisfaction, lost workdays, limitations following injuries, and the end of a career. They are caused by: body motion, exposure to harmful substances, accidents during ambulance operations, violence, or slips, trips and falls. Contributory factors include: a lack of expectancy, improper reactions to unexpected situations, inadequate concentration, inexperience, poor fitness, rushing, partner problems, the negative actions of other personnel, low salaries, multiple-jobs, long tours, lack of breaks, ambulance design, a lack of reporting, and weather conditions. These should all be considered when developing preventive solutions. The following recommendations were therefore made: identifying risk factors, holding regular meetings between supervisors and ambulance workers, enhancing the safety culture, following recent safety guidelines and policies, increasing safety awareness, developing positive relationships with other personnel, improving ambulances, improving reporting processes, and using reported data as the basis for further research and training.