Emergency medical responders save lives, but sometimes their own lives are at risk. Recent research from Drexel University took a close look at the dangers faced by first responders on-the-job. Safety BLR reported on the risks and provided details on which emergency workers faced the greatest chances of being hurt in the workplace. Now, Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also making clear there are concerns about safety for EMTs, as OSHA is considering a new standard for emergency responders.
Every employee in all fields deserves a safe workplace. If you get hurt while performing work tasks, regardless of what OSHA standards are or whether they were violated, you should take action. An Atlanta workplace injury lawyer can provide you with help in pursuing a case to receive benefits after your on-the-job injury.
Atlanta Work Accident Risks & Proposed New Safety Standards for EMTs
According to Safety BLR's report on the Drexel University research, emergency emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics are at a significantly greater risk of becoming victims of on-the-job violence compared with firefighters. Unfortunately, many EMTs believe the assaults they experience are simply a part of the job and thus these types of injuries are under-reported.
EMTs face a significant risk of on-the-job injuries because they are often provided very little information from dispatchers about what type of situation where they are walking into. They may be unaware they are approaching a hazardous situation with a high risk of violence. Even when EMTs know they are going to be in a potentially dangerous situation, most have not been trained to deal with threats of violence or high-risk encounters.
EMTs also face a high risk of stress, especially as they are often sent on many calls in a very limited period of time. While stress has real health consequences and can cause illness, unfortunately tracing stress-related conditions back to job performance for purposes of qualifying for workers' compensation benefits can be a major challenge.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) could be taking some steps to try to improve conditions and reduce injury risks for EMTs and other first responders. Business Insurance reported OSHA is considering new standards for emergency responders and has asked the National Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety to propose new regulations. However, many of these steps would not directly address the issues faced by EMTs.
The proposed new requirements which have been suggested thus far include requiring baseline medical evaluations and annual medical evaluations to identify conditions which could affect job performance. While this could potentially help to detect stress-related health problems, the goal is to prevent incidents like sudden cardiac death occurring while job functions are being performed. The new proposed regulations would also prohibit the installation of fire polls in fire houses as these can be dangerous. While these regulations could be a good start, hopefully they will be expanded and revised to better protect EMTs from the unique risks they face.
The Atlanta workplace accident lawyers at Van Sant Law, LLC can represent employees or their families after a workplace injury or death. Call today at 404-991-5950 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.