Ambulance Services

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Biological Agents

Risk of:

  • Infections.

Possible causes:

  • Contact with infectious person or infectious body fluids.
  • Exposure to Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs) via puncture wounds or bites.

Chemical Agents

Risk of:

  • Health effects such as allergies and dermatitis.
  • Explosion.

Possible causes:

  • Exposure to compressed / anaesthetic gases or chemicals administered / released inside the ambulance e.g. halothane, nitrous oxide, oxygen and ethyl chloride.
  • Use of disinfecting agents.
  • Exposure to latex consumables e.g. powdered latex gloves.
  • Exposure to chemicals or drugs.
  • Mishandling of gas cylinders.

Driving for Work

Risk of:

  • Road collision.
  • Stress.
  • Back pain.

Possible causes:

  • High speed driving under emergency conditions.
  • Driving in difficult traffic or weather conditions.
  • Poor ergonomic set up / lack of lumbar support.
  • Manual handling of patients and material from the vehicle.
  • Sustained posture and duration of journey.

Electricity

Risk of:

  • Burns.
  • Electrocution.
  • Death.

Possible causes:

  • Exposure to loose electrical conduits at accident scene.
  • Faulty or unmaintained equipment.
  • Misuse of equipment e.g. defibrillators.

Environmental Conditions

Risk of:

  • Colds.
  • Stress.
  • Fatigue.

Possible causes:

  • Working in inclement conditions - cold, wind, rain, heat.
  • Lack of warm, waterproof clothing.
  • Inadequately maintained vehicles.

Ergonomic Hazards

Risk of:

  • Pain in neck, back or arms.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders such as carpel tunnel syndrome.

Possible causes:

  • Adopting awkward postures.
  • Using force or exertion.

Explosion

Risk of:

  • Physical injury.
  • Death.

Possible causes:

  • Attending accident scenes.
  • Mishandling of gas cylinders.

Falling Objects

Risk of:

  • Physical injury or death.

Possible causes:

  • Entering unstable structures.
  • Attending accident scenes where material may be dislodged

Fire

Risk of:

  • Burns.
  • Smoke inhalation.
  • Death.

Possible causes:

  • Attending fire accident scenes.

Ionising Radiation

Risk of:

  • Genetic damage.
  • Reproductive damage.

Possible causes:

  • Transporting patients who have received therapeutic amounts of radionuclides.

Manual / Patient Handling

Risk of:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Falls.

Possible causes:

  • Lifting and moving patients, often over rough terrain or down stairs.
  • Lack of mechanical aids.

Sharps / Sharp Items

Risk of:

  • Puncture wound.
  • Infection.
  • Cuts.

Possible causes:

  • Needlestick or sharp instrument injury whilst carrying out work activities e.g. giving injections.
  • Broken glass or twisted sharp items at accident scene.
  • Bites.

Shift Work

Risk of:

  • Health effects - digestion problems, heart disease.
  • Sleep problems.

Possible causes:

  • Poor job structure.
  • Changing shifts.
  • Night work.

Slips, Trips and Falls

Risk of:

  • Minor injuries such as cuts to major injuries such as broken bones, concussion and even death.

Possible causes:

  • Carrying stretchers or loads up or down stairs.
  • Working in unstable areas or unstable structures.
  • Fall from vehicle.

Stress

Risk of:

  • Psychological disorders.
  • Health effects.

Possible causes:

  • Time pressure.
  • Working irregular hours.
  • Coping with emotional or traumatic situations.
  • Maintaining prolonged state of alertness.

Violence and Aggression

Risk of:

  • Physical and / or psychological harm.

Possible causes:

  • Uncooperative patients.
  • Patients suffering from emotional stress or behavioural problems.
  • Opportunist members of the public.
  • Public order issues.

Further Information

For further information on related controls click here.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list of hazards and risks.