Working as a paramedic is a rewarding job as you get to be of great assistance to people in grave danger. However, due to this constant exposure to dangerous situations, you’ll always be vulnerable to various occupational hazards. You’ll come into contact with sick or injured people and will be exposed to unfamiliar surroundings. The following are threats you should lookout for, and how best to reduce the risk of harm when on the job:
1. Assault and Injury
According to the US Department of Labor, paramedics are five times more likely to be victims of attack from belligerent or intoxicated bystanders and street gangs, than their peers in other industries combined. Verbal and physical abuse, intimidation and even sexual assault are some of the things you may undergo. Training in self-defense enables you to handle perpetrators easily so that you can carry out your job with minimal disturbance. In addition to this, have a police escort at the scene you are attending so that they can keep unruly people at bay.
2. Exposure to Biological or Chemical Hazards
When assisting sick or injured persons, you may come into contact with bodily fluids, such as blood, saliva, urine or sweat, which could contain infectious diseases that are detrimental to your health. Furthermore, working in all kinds of indoor and outdoor environments may expose you to various hazardous chemicals and waste. Always wear gloves and other protective clothing such as masks, boots and goggles to avoid direct contact with such fluids or fumes.
3. Back Ache and Body Pain
In your line of work, you will experience many work-related injuries such as backache and joint pains as a result of constant heavy lifting, bending and kneeling. According to Ohio State University, in their 2008 study, 8 out of 100 paramedics miss work daily because of such strain on their bodies. Being a paramedic is a physically exerting profession that requires you to be at your fittest to be able to carry, lift and move people or objects around.
4. Psychological Stress
On the job, you come face-to-face with incidents that may lead to anxiety, depression, stress and even trauma. You are exposed to life-threatening situations where you have to make critical decisions within the shortest time possible in order to avoid loss of life. You might also develop poor sleeping patterns as a result of constantly being on-call whenever there is an incident to attend to. Ensure that you have someone to talk to about your experience so that you’re not always tense or overwhelmed by the pressure of your job.
Every time you go out to work, you’re always in harm’s way. However, as a paramedic, you exhibit heroism, which will be widely appreciated by those around you. To ensure that you are always of service to others, adequately protect yourself from the constant hazards that come in your line of work. Being a paramedic instills in you a sense of value in the addition you make to the team you work with and within the community you’re helping.