New research from St, Michael's Hospital in Toronto suggests that more than two-thirds of paramedics have experienced verbal, physical or sexual abuse on the job.
"EMS providers can experience violence in the workplace as they perform their jobs in unpredictable environments and near people in crisis," said Blair Bigham, the lead investigator.
"Anecdotal reports and workplace safety records have highlighted cases of verbal, physical and sexual abuse, yet until now, there has been little scientific research. More research is needed to understand the impact of this workplace violence."
The study found:
- Verbal abuse was reported by 67.4 per cent of EMS workers surveyed.
- Intimidation was reported by 41.5 per cent.
- Physical abuse was reported by 26.1 per cent.
- Sexual harassment was reported by 13.6 per cent.
- Sexual assault was reported by 2.7 per cent.
The study was based on a survey of 1,381 paramedics in Ontario and Nova Scotia. Most (70%) were male. The median paramedic was 34 and had 10 years experience in EMS.