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Safety Matters


Our blog discussing workplace safety opportunities in Nova Scotia and around the world.

EMC – Injury Prevention Taskforce
It’s no secret that paramedics perform physically demanding, time-sensitive tasks in order to provide pre-hospital patient care, while putting their own bodies at risk. This caring and compassionate approach, which puts the patient’s needs first, is extremely honorable and often the expectation. But it brings up an important question, “How can first responders effectively help patients, if helping means they hurt themselves?”

Providing solutions that answer this question is the mandate of EMC’s Injury Prevention Taskforce. As demonstrated through the taskforce’s stated mission, the group is focused on helping to address and improve paramedics’ number one cause of injury.

Mission statement: The EMC Injury Prevention Taskforce shall be responsible for the development and recommendation of strategies and initiatives that will promote safe lifting practices with the overall goal of reducing and preventing lifting-related injuries in the workplace.

According to EMC Director of Provincial Operations Jeff Fraser, the group’s leadership sponsor, calling the group a taskforce was important because, “Taskforces get things done!” And getting things done is exactly what they have done. In the short time they’ve been together, the taskforce has:

- Supported the power stretcher trial – including sharing a video at the fall in-service
- Developed an instructional video to demonstrate the proper use of the new kit bags
- Re-organized the “yellow bag” into a more functional kit
- Revised safe work practices for stretcher use
- Established a new stretcher loading plate and policy
- Re-positioned of the defibrillator in the ambulance to make it more easily accessible 
- Developed an injury prevention engagement and contest to promote stretcher triad
- Engaged with the EMS 20/50 conference, offering representation, awareness and promotion
- Started to develop a patient ambulation decision assist tool which will be leading practice in the industry

It’s important to note the make-up of the taskforce. This group truly is a cross-functional EMC team. Members include frontline primary and advanced care paramedics, frontline supervisors, management, executive, EHS LifeFlight, health and wellness, performance and development, human resources, communications (both the medical communications centre and corporate communications), fleet services, and the joint occupational health and safety team. This level of engagement is the best way to ensure all perspectives are taken into account when making meaningful and realistic systematic improvements.  

This group is just getting started. Staff awareness and appreciation about safety is growing, and more people are talking about it. The Injury Prevention Taskforce will continue to be the voice and advocate for safety on behalf of their peers, as they look  for real-world solutions that provide safety for everyone. 

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