The Most Common Work Injuries of First Responders

First responders put themselves at great risk to protect and keep us safe. The many hazards to which first responders are exposed causes them to suffer injuries for which they deserve workers’ compensation – without question. Although firefighters, police officers, and paramedics have different responsibilities, they often suffer similar types of injuries.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the two most common types of injuries for paramedics are sprains and strains (38% of injuries) and overexertion injuries (33%). Overall, common injuries include:

  • Overexertion, lifting, and repetitive-type injuries and strains
  • Falls, slips
  • Assault and violent acts
  • Transportation incidents, such as car crashes

The research data also indicates that paramedics are more likely to suffer injuries in their first 10 years on the job, especially when responding to 911 calls.

While firefighters are less likely to face situations where they may be the victims of an assault or other violent crime, the physical demands of their job may cause many different types of injuries. The National Fire Protection Association tracks firefighter injuries regardless of whether the injury occurred while fire-fighting.

In situations fighting fires, the most common injuries to firefighters are:

  • Overexertion and strains (28% of fire ground injuries)
  • Falls, slips, jumps (18% of fire ground injuries)
  • Exposure to fire products, i.e., smoke inhalation and burns (17% of fire ground injuries)

Outside of firefighting situations, the most common injuries to firefighters are:

  • Sprains, strains, muscular pain (59% of non-fire ground injuries)
  • Wounds, cuts, bleeding, bruises (16% of non-fire ground injuries)

Research done by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health indicates that law enforcement officers are three times more likely to suffer a non-fatal injury on the job than all other U.S. workers. The most common injuries for police officers are:

  • Assault and violent acts (36% of injuries)
  • Body motion injuries, including overexertion and motion repetition (15%)
  • Transportation incidents, such as car crashes (14%)
  • Falls (11%)

If a police officer suffers any of these injuries while working, they likely will be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Because first responders are in frequent contact with many people, they are at an increased risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus. New York City reported 1,400 coronavirus cases among New York Police Department employees in April.

In Pennsylvania, first responders may qualify for workers’ compensation if they meet the state’s two requirements in that they

  1. Suffer from a work-related injury or illness
  2. Report their injury to their employer within 120 days (21 days to receive benefits back to the date of the injury)

An experienced personal injury attorney may provide the necessary expertise to achieve success in any personal injury matter. The attorneys at Powell Law carry on the work of a law firm that spans generations and has represented thousands of Pennsylvanians over a period of 115 years. At Powell Law, it is our goal to protect and assert our clients’ rights effectively in any matter, including those involving personal injury.

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