EMS workers and the increased risk of long shifts

Emergency services employees in Texas and around the country who work shifts longer that 12 hours are 60 percent more likely to experience illness and injury, according to a recent study. The researchers examined 1 million schedules of 4,000 EMS workers over a three-year period as well as 950 health records from 14 large EMS agencies. The findings showed a significant correlation between extended shift hours and a risk to employee health.


Researchers involved in the study noted that EMS workers are at a greater risk of injury or illness the longer they work. EMS work is highly demanding, involving physical strength and mental endurance through chaotic situations. Workers are required to remain clear-headed even while working shifts as long as 24 hours.


The study found that shifts of 12 or more hours were linked to a greater risk of an on-the-job injury than EMS workers who had shorter shifts. This risk remained even when accounting for potentially intervening variables such as the familiarity of the crew and the time of day the employees worked. Those who worked 24 hours were more than twice as likely to sustain an injury or illness as those who worked shifts of eight hours or less. Researchers have urged for further study regarding this preventable risk of work-related injury and illness.


Texas EMS workers who have sustained a workplace injury may be eligible to file a claim for benefits under their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy. These benefits can include a percentage of lost wages for the period where the injured victim is unable to work as well as the provision of medical treatment. An attorney who has experience with these matters ca often be of assistance in the preparation and filing of the claim.

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