Relatively little has been published on the range of risk factors contributing to musculoskeletal injuries in ambulance officers. This study aims to identify perceived risk factors for back, neck and shoulder musculoskeletal injuries and claims in relation to working conditions, and the physical and psychological demands of the job. This was a cross-sectional study using an internet-based survey in an Australian ambulance service. The survey included demographic questions and questions on psychosocial factors related to the job and the way in which work is organized, musculoskeletal injuries sustained and claims submitted in the previous 12 months; and two open ended questions on perceived risk factors for injury and injury risk mitigation strategies. Ambulance officers who felt they were able to take sufficient breaks were less likely to sustain a back, neck or shoulder musculoskeletal injury, and those who perceived their work required high levels of physical effort were more likely to submit a claim for these injuries. Two important perceived causal factors contributing to musculoskeletal injuries were the uncontrolled environment and non-adherence to manual handling techniques. However, suggested risk mitigation strategies of improving fitness and manual handling training, were not supported by the quantitative analysis.
- Risk factors