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UPMC Study Highlights EMS Workplace Safety

Nov 30, 2011

Poor perceptions about workplace safety culture among emergency medical services (EMS) workers is associated with negative patient and provider safety outcomes -- the first time such a link has been shown in the pre-hospital setting,
Poor perceptions about workplace safety culture among emergency medical services (EMS) workers is associated with negative patient and provider safety outcomes -- the first time such a link has been shown in the pre-hospital setting, according to a study by University of Pittsburgh researchers that now appears online in Prehospital Emergency Care and is scheduled to be published in the January-March print edition. The investigators measured EMS safety culture by surveying emergency medical technicians and paramedics at 21 EMS agencies across the U.S. They used a scientifically validated survey that collects EMS worker opinions regarding six key areas: safety climate, teamwork climate, perceptions of management, working conditions, stress recognition and job satisfaction. Safety outcomes were measured through a survey designed by EMS physician medical directors and investigators to identify provider injuries, patient care errors and safety-compromising behavior.

The analysis of 412 surveys showed that individual EMS worker perceptions of workplace safety culture are associated with composite measures of patient and provider safety outcomes. Notably, the researchers found that 16 percent of all respondents reported experiencing an injury in the past three months; four of every 10 reported an error or adverse event; and 89 percent reported safety-compromising behavior. For more information, click here.