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New guidelines to reduce EMS worker fatigue

Oklahoma EMS workers may be interested to learn that a new set of guidelines has been established to reduce their on-the-job fatigue levels. The guidelines were created by the National Association of State EMS Officials and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and they were published in the journal Prehospital Emergency Care on Jan. 11.

According to studies, EMS workers suffer from severe physical and mental fatigue during their shifts. This is made worse by limited recovery between shifts, poor sleep quality and overall lack of sleep. In fact, half of all EMS workers report that they get less than six hours of sleep each day.

In order to address these issues, the guidelines suggest that EMS workers be limited to shifts of less than 24 hours. They should also have access to caffeine and be given the opportunity to nap in between calls. Finally, they should be provided education and training on the management of workplace fatigue. According to the lead author of the guidelines, managing the fatigue of EMS workers not only helps maintain workplace safety, but it also helps protect public safety.

Workplace fatigue can lead to serious on-the-job accidents. Most EMS workers who are injured on the job are eligible to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits that could include the payment or reimbursement of medical expenses and a portion of their salary while they are unable to work. In many cases an attorney can help out together the claim and ensure that it is filed in a timely manner.

Source: Safety and Health, "New guidelines intended to reduce fatigue among EMS workers," Jan. 23, 2018

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