Risk factors for musculo-skeletal injuries in Australian paramedics

This cross-sectional study aimed to determine the individual, physical and psychosocial risk factors associated with back, neck and shoulder musculoskeletal pain, injuries and claims in paramedics.An internet-based survey of an Australian ambulance service was conducted between May and June 2011. The questionnaire included individual (demographic and psychological) items, and questions on the physical and psychosocial aspects of the job. The outcome measures included pain, injuries sustained and claims in the previous 12 months.Variables associated with pain included perceived heavy manual handling, not being consulted about work changes and the high physical and psychological consequences of the job including feeling worn out, while increased alcohol consumption was also found to be associated with pain. Variables associated with injuries included heavy manual handling, being consulted about work changes, work organisation factors, lack of psychological support from the line manager and feeling worn out. Variables associated with claims were older age, being female, having a busy last shift rotation, repetitive and heavy manual handling, worry about patient violence and increased alcohol consumption.Perceived injury risk mitigation strategies included reducing the physical job demands, including reducing the weight of kit and equipment.

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