Review of accidents/injuries among emergency medical services workers in Baltimore, Maryland

Prehosp Disaster Med. Jan-Mar 1995;10(1):14-8. doi: 10.1017/s1049023x00041583.


Objectives: To characterize the types of occupational exposures and injuries reported by emergency medical service (EMS) workers.

Methods: A blinded review of accidents/exposures among EMS workers employed by a Baltimore County fire department was conducted. Medical records for 1992 were reviewed.

Results: Two hundred and twenty-six reports were filed by EMS workers (n = 197) employed by a large, urban fire department in 1992. The most commonly reported injuries were sprains (23%), strains (20%), and exposure to blood and body fluids (15%). The body site most commonly injured was the back (20%) followed by the respiratory system (10%). Most incidents were treated at the employee health clinic, and 13% of the incidents resulted in a hospital visit. Fifteen percent of the injuries resulted in more than seven lost work days. Most incidents were caused by stretcher mishaps, especially during transport of heavy patients. Walkway impediments (e.g., icy steps, wet leaves, broken and uneven pathways) also played an important role in creating slipping and tripping hazards.

Conclusion: These results suggest a variety of prevention strategies aimed at reducing accidents and exposures among EMS workers.

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Accidents, Occupational / prevention & control
  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Baltimore / epidemiology
  • Emergency Medical Technicians / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control