Workplace Violence in Asian Emergency Medical Services: A Pilot Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Oct 16;16(20):3936. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16203936.


Workplace violence among Asian emergency medical services (EMS) has rarely been examined. A cross-sectional, mainly descriptive study using a standardized, paper-based, self-reported questionnaire survey was conducted between August and October 2018 among emergency medical technicians (EMTs) in the Tainan City Fire Bureau, Taiwan. A total of 152 EMT-paramedics responded to the questionnaire survey, constituting an overall response rate of 96.2%. The participants were predominantly male (96.1%), college-educated (4-year bachelor's degree) (49.3%), and middle-aged (35-44 years old) (63.8%). Among them, 113 (74.3%) and 75 (49.3%) participants had experienced verbal and physical assaults at work, respectively. Only 12 (7.9%) participants were familiar with relevant regulations or codes. The assaults predominantly occurred during evening shifts (16:00-24:00) and at the scene of the emergency. The most predominant violence perpetrators included patients, patients' families, or patients' friends. Nearly 10% of participants had experienced verbal assaults from hospital personnel. EMTs who encountered workplace violence rarely completed a paper report, filed for a lawsuit, or sought a psychiatric consultation. Fifty-eight (38.2%) and 16 (10.5%) participants were victims of frequent (at least once every 3 months) verbal and physical forms of violence, respectively; however, no statistically significant association was observed in terms of EMT gender, age, working years, education level, or the number of EMS deployments per month. The prevalence of workplace violence among Asian EMS is considerable and is comparable to that in Western countries. Strategies to prevent workplace violence should be tailored to local practice and effectively implemented.

Keywords: Asian; Taiwan; emergency medical services system; emergency medical technician; workplace violence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergency Medical Services / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prevalence
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taiwan
  • Workplace Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult