While any job can result in injuries, many of our public safety workers put their lives on the line each day. Police, firefighter, and paramedics all risk their own health and safety in order to render the help we need when in an emergency. For these kinds of workers, workplace accidents could mean being shot while attempting to apprehend a suspect, suffering smoke inhalation while battling a fire, or being hurt while attempting to give aid. Injuries to public service workers can be serious, and potentially life-threatening. Recuperation can be slow, and injuries can end up leaving permanent disabilities that prevent the worker from returning to their field. Like any employee, help is available for these workers through workers’ compensation. For the men and women who risk their lives in service to the public, the benefits provided can help them recover from their injuries, while ensuring they have the ability to support themselves and their families through that recovery.
On-the-Job Injuries Affecting Public Safety Employees
In terms of being at risk for on-the-job injuries, public safety workers face higher rates of both injuries and fatalities than any other profession. According to a study by the RAND Corporation, these workers are more than three times likely to be injured than workers in any other profession. The types of injuries suffered by public safety workers include the following:
- Muscle sprains and strains: These types of injuries are among the most common for police, firefighters, and EMS workers, and over 50 percent of workers in these fields suffer some type of strain or sprain in the course of their employment. Particularly among EMS workers and firefighters, who are often required to lift people and carry supplies, back injuries are common.
- Injuries caused by vehicle crashes: Public safety workers all spend good parts of their time riding in vehicles, whether that be a police car, firetruck, or ambulance. Many times, these vehicles are going at a high rate of speed in an effort to get to where help is needed. As a result, these workers have an increased likelihood of suffering serious on the job injuries as the result of vehicle accidents. The risks for public safety workers of being fatally injured in a vehicle accident is over 30 percent.
- Heart attacks and heart disease: Particularly among firefighters, who breathe in dangerous amounts of smoke from fires in the course of their jobs, heart attacks are a common type of on-the-job injury. Public safety work involves demanding hours and high stress situations, and it is not uncommon for workers in these field to suffer an increased likelihood of high blood pressure and heart disease.
In addition to the injuries listed above, public safety workers are all susceptible to increased dangers specific to their fields. Police suffer increased risks for gunshot and assault wounds, firefighters face greater risks for burn injuries, and EMS workers are susceptible to being exposed to dangerous bacteria and infectious diseases. Under Chapter 440 of the Florida State Statutes, these and other job-related injuries suffered by public safety workers may be covered through the Florida workers’ compensation program.
Reach Out to an Attorney for Help
If you or someone you love is a public safety worker who has been injured on the job, contact our experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorneys today. At Hogan Frick, we understand the devastating impacts these injuries can have on your health and your ability to provide for your family. We will fight for your rights, and may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve.