Rebecca's Quest for Safety and Wellness at Work
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Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Social Trends - Work and Health, Jun 2011

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Social Trends - Work and Health, Jun 2011 | Rebecca's Quest for Safety and Wellness at Work | Scoop.it
Rebecca Jones's insight:

Article 1.

A summation of Australian work and health related social trends seems like the best, all round way to begin this Quest. This recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) issue explores the relationship between work and health through data on work-related injuries and fatalities.

The ABS define a work-related injury as 'any injury, illness or disease which first occurred in the 12 months prior to interview, where a person suffered either physically or mentally from a condition that arose out of, or in the course of employment. Included are work-related injuries that occurred while commuting to and from work, outside of work but while on duty, or during work breaks.'

The issue also outlines data on work related injuries by age and sex, occupation and industry, types of injuries, and time off work. It also includes fatalities by age, sex, occupation and industry to name a few key aspects of the survey. 

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Paramedic refused to carry dying girl over safety fears - Telegraph

Paramedic refused to carry dying girl over safety fears - Telegraph | Rebecca's Quest for Safety and Wellness at Work | Scoop.it
Shannon Powell, a paramedic, refused to carry a dying 14-year-old girl from a cross-country race course because of health and safety fears for herself, a coroner heard.
Rebecca Jones's insight:

Article 3.

Alike article 1, paramedics have a duty of care to themselves and others which begins with ensuring their own health and safety. This article is quite vague as it details the series of events only via a collection of frantic witness accounts. The article does not describe the cross country terrain well but it would seem once they had her on the stretcher, they were right to go slow and steady, rather than fast and frantic and risk further injury to the patient.. It is unclear at what point the paramedic was expected to carry the patient without the stretcher. In addition, it does not detail the size and weight of the paramedic or the patient, or if the paramedic had sustained a previous back injury. Again though, a paramedic should be protected by OHS in line with those of other industries. If her back were damaged in a workplace incident, one would hope this had been properly addressed and procedure to prevent such an injury occurring again updated. At the end of the day, this was a very unfortunate series of events that lead to the death of a little girl. At the end of the day though, no paramedic takes a high risk, high stress, comparatively low paid job because they don't want to help patients.  

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Sharon Mcdonald's curator insight, March 5, 2014 12:42 AM

A good example where Occupational Health and Safety fears have caused Paramedics to make a non life saving decision. Paramedics feared that their own health and safety in this situation was at risk and led to them to make a decision not  to render assistance to the injured 14 year old girl. This caused a large amount of controversy and opened up to a whole heap of questions as to whether these Paramedics made the correct and justifiable decision.

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Ambo sues over lifting injury caused by obese patient

Ambo sues over lifting injury caused by obese patient | Rebecca's Quest for Safety and Wellness at Work | Scoop.it
AN ambulance officer is suing the State Government for more than $700,000 over injuries he says he suffered lifting an obese patient into an ambulance.
Rebecca Jones's insight:

Article 5.

I feel that this article is well suited in this position of the Quest. The previous three articles depict the criticism and contempt shown to paramedics by the public, patient's family, media and even the coroner when they follow Clinical Practice Guidelines and OHS procedure first and foremost. This article shows what can happen to a healthcare provider when OHS procedures are not in place or are not followed. In this case, the 'hospital failed to have in place a system of safe transfer of patients into ambulances'. As a result, an employee of the ambulance service has been left with lifelong injury, medical expenses, surgical treatments and permanent loss of income. Hopefully this will prompt an immediate change in OHS procedures when lifting obese patients. This is particularly important as the numbers of overweight individuals in our society grows.

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Vonny~'s comment, February 28, 2014 9:51 PM
This will be interesting one to watch in terms of public comment ... might provide a bird's eye view of the perception of OHS in relation to emergency care staff!
Rebecca Poole's curator insight, March 7, 2014 11:11 PM

As this article states " hospital staff refused to assist" ambulance officer lift patient into ambulance via stretcher. This is a common occurance which I have seen firsthand at some hospitals here in Queensland. Manual handling accounts for 1/2 Queensland Ambulance Service incidents where staff are injured (QAS 2012). This is a very worrying statistic, espcially when considering that manual handling incicents have the ability to end your career As it what happened is this article

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Paramedics: Growing concern that stressful working conditions could be putting lives at risk » The Injured Workers Support Network

Paramedics: Growing concern that stressful working conditions could be putting lives at risk » The Injured Workers Support Network | Rebecca's Quest for Safety and Wellness at Work | Scoop.it
Rebecca Jones's insight:

Article 8.

 

Paramedics believe that the stressful nature of their jobs are putting patients at risk. High pressure, shift work, excess overtime and little downtime are all to blame. This results in high absenteeism and sick leave and as many as 10 ambulances a day are left without a crew. 

 

Kate Carnell, the chief executive of Beyondblue describes that 'employees in our frontline emergency services may not be putting up their hand about mental health issues.' I found it particularly concerning that sixty per cent of men are not seeking help for mental illness. There is the idea that mental health issues are a weakness. It is not like that.” 

It is very concerning that more is not being done to nurture the mental health of paramedics. Not doing more leads to the ultimate OHS fail for paramedics, sadly details in Quest article 10.

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Everyday heroes pay the ultimate price when the siren stops

Everyday heroes pay the ultimate price when the siren stops | Rebecca's Quest for Safety and Wellness at Work | Scoop.it
THEY are there to rescue us in our hours of greatest need. Day after day, paramedics pull mangled bodies from car smashes, crawl under fallen buildings and fend off attacks by drunks. They witness unspeakable trauma, some for decades, but when they collapse emotionally the ambulance service too often fails them.
Rebecca Jones's insight:

Article 10.

 

OHS is so incredibly important. There is something in each of the previous 9 Scooped articles that contributes to what I consider to be the biggest OHS fail, suicide. The suicide rate for paramedics is 1 in 3500 according to the article. That is almost 3 times higher than the 1 in 10,000 within the general population.

It would seem that the ambulance service often refuses to accept battle fatigue is significant, in some cases blaming their personal lives instead. If this were these case, you have to ask why it is that paramedics are 3 times more likely than the general population to have personal problems or mental issues? It must, must come back to the one thing they all have in common, work. 

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Vonny~'s comment, February 28, 2014 9:45 PM
Excellent choice of scoop Rebecca ... right on the money ... I really look forward to reading your 'insights' as an annotation to the story!!!
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Coroner condemns paramedics who refused to save drowning man in ditch 'for health and safety reasons'

Coroner condemns paramedics who refused to save drowning man in ditch 'for health and safety reasons' | Rebecca's Quest for Safety and Wellness at Work | Scoop.it

Michael Rose, the coroner for West Somerset, said medics should have done more to save young farmer Michael Thornton, 30, (pictured) who died in a water-filled canal.

Rebecca Jones's insight:

Article 2.

The very first thing taught to paramedic students and first aiders alike, is the DRABC action plan when approaching the scene of an accident or emergency. DRABC stands for: Danger, Response, Airway, Breathing and Circulation; and are to be followed in this sequence. A paramedic will not be able to help a patient if they also become a casualty themselves. They are trained to not proceed if doing so is detrimental to themselves, their patient or others. May I be bold and suggest the the coroner is thoughtless and irresponsible for suggesting this and other paramedics should ignore the Clinical Practice Guidelines they are required to follow, and risk their own lives whilst at work.

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Alicia Jade Locke's curator insight, March 5, 2014 9:26 PM

As paramedics, we shouldn't have to consider placing ourselves at a significant risk in order to save our patients. There is NO benefit, in attempting to help our patient if it places us at such a significant risk of harm that we may be unable to provide adequate medical attention, due to injuries inflicted  upon ourselves in the quest to access a patient.

 

Emma Petersen's curator insight, March 8, 2014 12:48 AM

In interesting case where a Paramedic made a judgement call to not enter an unsafe environment where a man needed help. As a resulted the coroner condemned the paramedic while the paramedic remained in his own right to put his own safety first. It was the belief of the Councillor that OHS laws are stopping paramedics doing their job which is a sad thing overruling natural instinct to risk one's life to save another.

Chris Hoffman's curator insight, March 11, 2014 11:45 AM

If paramedics are called to an incident and find themselves unable to perform their role because of their own ignorance and disregard for tried and tested guidelines, they will be of no good to anyone. It's important to keep yourself and other workmates safe and pray that when and if a situation like this presents, that you have the peace of mind to do what is right.

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Paramedic left injured man in field in case cows attacked - Telegraph

Paramedic left injured man in field in case cows attacked - Telegraph | Rebecca's Quest for Safety and Wellness at Work | Scoop.it

Article 4.A paramedic called to assist a seriously injured pensioner who had been trampled by cows waited in her car for 10 minutes because she considered it unsafe to help.

Rebecca Jones's insight:

Article 4.

 

This article is the third in this series where a paramedic has decided to not proceed for her own safety. An elderly gentleman was walking his dog through a field when he was trampled by a herd of stampeding cattle.  Upon arrival, the paramedic assessed the scene for risk and danger, and decided to wait in her vehicle for the fire crew to arrive. The standerby was agitated by her decision which is apparent in the two previous articles of a similar nature. 

On this occasion, the paramedic had the full support of her media spokesperson.  It was said that 'Our clinician has done what every member of staff would do in a dangerous or volatile situation such as this.' 'Safety to our staff is paramount at all times and following her dynamic risk assessment upon arrival, she took the appropriate actions.'

Once again I agree with the paramedic. Everybody no matter what their line of work, should be protected by workplace health and safety procedures. Had the stampeding cattle come after her, it could have been detrimental not only to her, but her patient also. 

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Ambulance failure sparks more safety fears

Ambulance failure sparks more safety fears | Rebecca's Quest for Safety and Wellness at Work | Scoop.it

It would seem thAmbulance Victoria is under mounting pressure over worker and patient safety with emerging details of engine failure in one of its vehicles this week, the latest in a spate of fires and faults.

Rebecca Jones's insight:

Article 6.

According to this article, Ambulance Victoria is under pressure to take the OHS matters of it's staff and patients seriously after a series of breakdowns, fires and faults in their Mercedes-Benz ambulance fleet. This has the potential to result in injury or death for paramedics, patients and other road users. I agree with the shadow parliamentary secretary for health, Wade Noonan's when he says, 'I hope it doesn't take a catastrophic event before the situation regarding our beleaguered ambulance fleet is resolved.'


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Paramedics need same protection from attacks as police

Paramedics need same protection from attacks as police | Rebecca's Quest for Safety and Wellness at Work | Scoop.it
High number of Medical emergency workers assaulted in careers
Rebecca Jones's insight:

Article 7.

According to this article, a high percentage of paramedics are assaulted during the course of their career. Some of the reasons for this include treating unstable mental health patients, patients under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and injured patient or one who is simply violent. 

Other OHS risks for paramedics outlined in this article include working with patients with infectious diseases, working by a busy roadside, needlestick injuries or being spat on by HIV or Hep C patients.  

There is an underlying message in the article which suggests that paramedics are unarmed and should be afforded the same protection against violence under the law as police. I agree with this position. The penalties should be harsher for assaults against paramedics. 

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Letter from Dr Brian Maguire to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care - 20 Jan 2012 (pdf)

Rebecca Jones's insight:

Article 9:

Dr Brian Maguire is one of the leading researchers in the area of occupational risks and safety for emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. It just so happens that he is also a professor at the Central Queensland University, School of Medical and Applied Sciences. This PDF Scoop is a letter to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. It outlines some recent research which indicates that Australia's 16,000 paramedics suffer from an extraordinarily high occupational injury and fatality rate. In turn, it proposes that emergency medical services be considered for additional funding and research. 

I wanted to place this article near to last as I feel that it validates the other articles perfectly. Two points that Dr Maguire addresses that I found particularly concerning are;

1.  that in Australia, ambulance officers and paramedics are reported to have the sixth highest rate of occupational injuries and the sixth highest rate of new mental stress claims for men, and


2. female paramedics have in fact, a disproportionately high risk of injury.

 

I would have loved to have found articles and research on both these issues but alas, I discovered very little. This just shows that funding and research is dearly lacking.

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Vonny~'s comment, February 28, 2014 9:46 PM
Excellent choice of scoop Rebecca!!! Brian is a leading light on this issue!!! :)