Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Occupational Injuries Among Emergency Medical Service Providers in the United States

Heick, Rebecca MS, PhD; Young, Tracy MS; Peek-Asa, Corinne MPH, PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: August 2009 - Volume 51 - Issue 8 - p 963-968
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181af6b76
Original Articles

Objective: Occupational injury is a significant problem among emergency medical services (EMS) providers. A national survey was conducted to describe the problem of occupational injury among EMS providers.

Methods: This study examined the most common types of nonfatal injuries and the activities and environments where injury most frequently occurred, including additional variables and paid versus volunteer status.

Results: Occupational injury in the past 12 months was reported by more than 29% of 659 survey respondents, with multiple injuries reported by 64% of those reporting an injury. Paid providers had approximately twice the prevalence of overall injury than volunteer providers, controlling for age and gender. Paid providers were more likely than volunteer providers to experience back injury and physical assault.

Conclusions: This study clearly identifies important occupational injury problems in EMS, including the need to examine paid and volunteer providers as separate occupational groups.

From the School of Public Health (Dr Heick), College of Health Sciences, Walden University, Minneapolis, Minn; and Department of Occupational and Environmental Health (Ms Young, Dr Peek-Asa), College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.

Address correspondence to: Corinne Peek-Asa, University of Iowa, 100 Oakdale Campus, 114 IREH, Iowa City, IA 52242; E-mail:

©2009The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine