Saving lives is a risky business for paramedics in New York

New York paramedics are exposed to a variety of situations, which puts them at an increased risk for suffering injuries and illnesses on the job.

Paramedics are emergency medical professionals who are licensed to treat and care for sick or injured patients in emergency situations. They may be called upon at all hours of the day and night to provide medical treatment in a variety of locations and situations. As a result, paramedics may face a wide array of workplace hazards while administering potentially life-saving medical treatments. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 24,200 EMS workers, including paramedics, sustained injuries and illnesses on the job in 2012.

Common risks

The increased risk of work-related injuries and illnesses for paramedics is due, in large part, to the nature of the job. In addition to being stressful and physically strenuous, paramedics may also be exposed to a number of hazards in the field. Some of the most common risks that New York paramedics face include the following:

  • The threat of being assaulted or attacked by a patient who is combative, or by someone else on the scene.
  • The potential for exposure to infections, contagions, chemicals or other hazards.
  • The chance of being involved in an auto accident.
  • The danger of suffering injury in an explosion or fire, or due to an unstable surface or structure.
  • The possibility of sustaining an injury as the result of regular tasks, including kneeling, bending and lifting patients, or by falling or slipping.

Beyond physical injuries and illnesses, paramedics may also be at risk for developing a psychological condition. They often experience situations that may cause intense psychological stress. Enduring severe trauma on the job could result in the development of post-traumatic stress disorder for some. Additionally, shift work syndrome may be an issue for some paramedics because of their often extended, and irregular, workdays.

Increasing safety

Some of the potential hazards that paramedics face cannot be completely eliminated. However, there are things that can be done to reduce the risks of some work-related injuries and illnesses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends the use of personal protective equipment, including wearing boots, gloves and protective garments. The use of this equipment may help prevent exposure to contagions, which could result in occupational diseases.

Thorough training can also be a useful tool for reducing the risks of workplace injuries and illnesses for paramedics. This may help ensure that proper protocols and procedures are followed. Staying physically fit and regularly washing hands also tend to be helpful. Paramedics may further reduce the dangers they face by maintaining awareness of their surroundings.

Working with an attorney

While paramedics who are injured on the job in New York are often eligible for workers' compensation, the claims process can be difficult for some. It may benefit those in this field who have suffered occupational injuries to seek the assistance of a legal professional. An attorney may explain their rights, and help ensure they receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

Keywords: work-related, injury, illness