Vol 7, No 3 (2022)
Research paper
Published online: 2022-09-08

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Occupational hazards in the consciousness of the paramedic in emergency medical service

Agnieszka Gonczaryk1, Jaroslaw Piotr Chmielewski2, Agnieszka Strzelecka3, Jaroslaw Fiks4, Grzegorz Witkowski3, Magdalena Florek-Luszczki5
Disaster Emerg Med J 2022;7(3):182-190.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Due to their occupational responsibilities and volatile work environment, paramedics are in constant contact with harmful, dangerous factors, making them vulnerable to a number of occupational health risks. These include harmful biological, chemical, physical, as well as psychophysical factors (musculoskeletal system strain, stress, patient aggression, occupational burnout). The present study aims to evaluate occupational hazard prevalence among emergency medical service (EMS) paramedics, the possibility of occupational illness incidence, and related prophylaxis.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The participant sample consisted of paramedics employed in five mobile EMS operational areas in the Masovian voivodship. The study involved 238 people, including 223 men and 15 women. The mean age was 39.03 ± 9.27 years for males, and 31.93 ± 7.76 years for females. The study took place between May and September 2019 using diagnostic survey methodology.
RESULTS: Participants ordered the following factors based on a scale of threat: biological factors (47%), psychophysical factors (41%), chemical factors (7%), and physical factors (5%). Health issues included musculoskeletal system discomfort (39%) and mental overload (33%). Participants indicated harmful biological factors to cause illnesses such as influenza (85%), tuberculosis (79%), and hepatitis B or C (70%). The study showed that 73% of the participants are occupationally exposed to patient aggression, while 15% experienced occupational burnout.
CONCLUSIONS: Paramedics are exposed to a number of occupational hazards daily. The ones most significant in terms of serious disease development are harmful biological factors, musculoskeletal risk factors, fatigue, mental overload related to occupational responsibilities.

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Disaster and Emergency Medicine Journal