According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the injury rate for EMS workers is 3 times the national average for all occupations. That’s why team at EMS University has compiled a brief list of four common EMT injuries and ways to prevent them in the workplace.

Overextension and Body Strains
Body strains are very common in the world of EMS. If you’re an EMT, you’ll be doing a lot of lifting, pulling, and pushing throughout the day. There are key ways to combat this. First, never let a patient cling on to you if you’re core or back is not braced and stable— failing to do so may result in a sprained shoulder or tweaked neck. Be sure to practice mobility exercises to strengthen and prep your body for the week’s work. Have an hour of waiting time? Practice keeping good posture the entire time, your body will thank you for it.

Slips and Falls

Many factors can cause a loss of balance— and exploring new terrain is one of them. Make sure to be mindful of uneven roads, stairs, or any other obstacles when you’re helping a patient. Rushing does not improve your patients safety, so be sure to approach all situations with an unhurried temperament to better address any bumps in the road. First responders should always wear durable, slip resistant shoes to reduce their risk of falling when working in rain and slippery conditions like early mornings when dew slicks the ground.

Motor Vehicle Incidents

Driving recklessly is a big no-no. Always wear a seatbelt and reduce distractions by never checking your phone. Never forget that as an EMT, people are counting on you to transport their loved ones safely. Your phone can wait.


It isn’t uncommon to come across a belligerent patient- some may be intoxicated, some may be cooling down from the adrenaline of being assaulted themselves. Whatever the case, you must create boundaries between you and your patient to avoid being assaulted. This is the best time to rest on your squad— they will help you diffuse tricky situations, if a patient is solely singling you out.

Because of their noble service, EMTS experience some of the highest rates for work-related injuries and illnesses in the country. Thank you to all EMTs suiting up for this tough work every day! We appreciate you.