In the field of emergency response, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) play a vital role in providing immediate medical assistance to people in critical situations.
However, working in such demanding conditions can expose TES to a variety of occupational hazards. It is therefore crucial that organisations prioritise occupational risk prevention for their staff. In this article, we will explore the importance of preventive measures and key aspects of occupational risk management for TES.
The importance of preventive measures
Preventing occupational risks is essential, as it not only protects the well-being of EMTs, but also ensures the continuity and quality of emergency medical services. Effective preventive measures facilitate a safe working environment, reducing the occurrence of accidents and injuries, preventing illness and optimising overall work productivity. Let’s take a closer look at the main ways to address the occupational risks faced by TES.
A thorough risk assessment is the first step in preventing occupational hazards. This assessment involves identifying potential hazards and their associated probabilities in the working environment of the TES. Risks can range from physical risks (repetitive motion injuries, vehicle accidents) to biological risks (exposure to infectious diseases) and psychosocial risks (stress, trauma). Identifying these risks helps to formulate appropriate preventive strategies.
Accident Risks: Accidents with vehicles, falls, overexertion, blows, trapping, cuts, sudden changes in temperature, inflammable material, electrical risks… Risks Occupational illnesses: biological risks, excessive noise, toxic substances…
Training and education
To effectively prevent occupational hazards, comprehensive training and education programmes are vital. TES should receive initial and periodic training sessions that focus not only on emergency response techniques, but also on risk awareness, proper handling of medical equipment and self-care. Ongoing educational programmes ensure that TES are aware of the latest safety protocols and allow them to adjust their actions accordingly.
Implementation of preventive measures
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Equipping TES with the appropriate personal protective equipment is essential to protect them from occupational hazards. PPE includes elements such as gloves (to avoid punctures, wounds, cuts… and biological hazards), masks (to avoid the risk of biological contamination), goggles (to avoid spills in the eyes), helmets (light and reflective) and other essential protective clothing, as described below.
Regarding the uniform, it must identify us with a personal identification system as well as the category of technical professional. Of course with at least reflective bands so that we can be seen. Long-sleeved shirt, with no possible snags and as flexible and light as possible; fireproof trousers with knee reinforcements if possible; comfortable jersey with elbow and shoulder reinforcements; fireproof waistcoats with as many pockets as possible to incorporate material.
Footwear should be non-slip safety footwear with protective toecap, preferably made of light material to avoid unnecessary weight, and anti-puncture insole. Gore-tex fabric to make it waterproof and breathable. Some models we can recommend from our different lines of safety footwear and which are the best sellers among TES:
Model PWT700/EMS (https://falseguridad.com/fire-tech-range/pwt700), FTX900/Forester (https://www.falseguridad.com/fire-tech-range/ftx900) and the GTX800HR (https://www.falseguridad.com/gore-tex-range/gtx800hr). The latter is a leather ankle boot with toe cap and insole. If the toe cap is not required, the PWT500/PATROL HIGH (https://falseguridad.com/power-tech-range) or the PWT50/PATROL LOW (https://www.falseguridad.com/power-tech-range/pwt50), both as work shoes.
Currently for TES we recommend the FTX9000 / Volcano (https://www.falseguridad.com/fire-tech-range) line, which is lighter, more breathable, more adaptable ….. It also has PBI fabric (https://falseguridad.com/pbi), an innovation on the market.
In short, organisations must guarantee adequate availability and training for the correct use of PPE. Regular inspection and maintenance of equipment is also necessary for optimal protection.
Establishment of working protocols
Standard working protocols should be developed and implemented to guide the action of the TES. These protocols establish clear procedures for various emergency situations, including proper use of equipment, patient assessment techniques, communication systems and transport guidelines. Following standardised protocols significantly reduces the occurrence of preventable accidents and ensures consistent quality of care.
Regular health assessments
Regular health assessments are essential for TES, as they allow for early detection of any health consequences due to occupational hazards. Organisations should provide comprehensive medical check-ups, vaccinations and regular screening for infectious diseases. Mental health support should also be included to address the psychological challenges faced by TES due to their demanding work environment.
Promoting a culture of safety
Creating a culture of safety is crucial to prevent occupational hazards among TES. Fostering open communication, building trust among team members and ensuring active participation in safety protocols are essential components of this culture. By promoting a safety-first mentality, organisations can minimise risks and improve the overall well-being of their TES staff.
Preventing occupational hazards among Emergency Medical Technicians is of utmost importance to ensure their well-being, efficiency and the quality of emergency medical services provided. By conducting thorough risk assessments, implementing preventive measures and promoting a culture of safety, organisations can protect their EMTs from the various risks they may face in their field. Prioritising occupational risk prevention is an investment in the longevity and success of emergency medical services.