Wisconsin Municipality Invests in the Safety of Its Emergency Medical Service Workers
Emergency medical service (EMS) workers are tasked with providing care to those in need of urgent medical assistance. Patients rely on these caregivers’ quick reactions and competent care choices as they get transported to hospitals and medical centers.
The risks facing emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics as they do their work not only include exposure to contagious diseases and viruses, but also injuries from combative patients and from the physically strenuous work of transferring and handling patients from accident sites to ambulances and then to care facilities. If improper body mechanics are used when lifting or transferring patients, painful – and expensive – sprains or strains can result (see statistics below).
For those working in the EMS department of the Village of Clear Lake, they clearly understood these potential risks and used them as justification for purchasing new transport equipment for their team. During the most recent year, the EMS team completed 200 runs – 75% of which were general medical calls, between 5% and 10% were motor vehicle accidents and the rest were non-transport calls.
For a municipality of just over 1,000 people, such a purchase may seem out of reach. But the Village of Clear Lake had a clear vision. They identified the brand of equipment they were interested in, provided a demonstration of the equipment by the vendor to employees and the EMS Board of Directors, discussed the potential cost savings from injury reduction and finally agreed to purchase a Stryker Power Cot with Power Load System after securing 0% financing from the company. The financing from Stryker made the purchase decision an easier one to handle through the village’s normal budgetary means.
Now EMS workers are able to load and unload cots with the simple push of a button. The cot’s locking system also makes transports safer for personnel and patients. Additionally, the municipality purchased a Zoll AutoPulse CPR compression device, which minimizes the risk for injury while compressions are being done and also allows EMS workers to stay seated while the ambulance is moving.
The Village of Clear Lake’s commitment to the safety of their EMS workers is praiseworthy. If your municipality is interested in learning about what equipment may be available to your EMS workers, contact your United Heartland Loss Control consultant today.
EMS Worker Injuries By the Numbers
- More than 27,000 EMS workers experience on-the-job injuries and illnesses each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
- 21% of all EMS workers’ injuries were to the lower back. (CDC)
- 7,400 injuries related to overexertion were reported in 2014 with half being specifically identified as overexertion during lifting. (CDC)
- OSHA reports that the average cost of a workers’ compensation claim related to patient handling is $15,600.