OSHA Injury Reporting

Last year we notified AAA members that they must begin electronically reporting their workplace injury data to OSHA starting December 1, 2017 for 2016. This is just a reminder to all employers can begin electronically reporting their 2017 workplace injury data through the OSHA Injury Tracking Application (ITA). 2017 Injury Data must be submitted to…

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Family Liaisons Following EMS Line of Duty Deaths

I was just a kid when I started in EMS. 23 years old, hungry for adventure, and ready for everything the world of EMS was prepared to give me. Car accidents, gunshot wounds, stabbings, intoxicated shenanigans, elderly falls, fist fights, medical emergencies, strokes, and cardiac arrest were all on my list of expected possibilities. One…

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OSHA: Transportation-Related Incidents Top Workplace Fatality List

Yesterday, OSHA issued a statement regarding fatal occupational injuries in 2016. Transportation-related incidents were the most frequent cause of workplace fatality in the United States last year. While the biggest part of our services is providing highest-quality medical care to people in need, the safe transportation of patients and crews plays a significant role. As…

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Electronic Injury Deadline Now 12/31

This is an important reminder to all agencies who are required to electronically report their injury data to OSHA.  OSHA announced today that they are giving employers until midnight on December 31, 2017 to submit their injury data for 2016.  If you need assistance with submitting your injury data, please be sure to call or email the AAA.  We can assist you in making sure you meet the deadline.  As of January 1, 2018, employers will not be able to submit their 2016 injury data.

OSHA Electronic Injury Reporting Deadline Is Dec 15

Several months ago, we alerted AAA members that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had announced that it would further delay the deadline for employers to electronically file injury data until December 1, 2017.  With that deadline quickly approaching, we wanted to make sure that our members were prepared and reporting the data correctly….

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LifeWorks Adapting to Change: Growing Stronger Through Change

Illness. Divorce. Financial difficulties. Job loss. We face unexpected changes and challenges throughout our lives. How can you learn to keep up a positive attitude and stay strong through life’s unwanted changes and challenges? The first step in coping with a crisis or challenge in your personal or work life is to put on your…

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September Is Suicide Awareness Month

This past year, nearly every EMS conference featured one or more sessions related to the mental health of EMS professionals. This November in Las Vegas, the American Ambulance Association Annual Conference & Trade Show will feature several sessions that will perform a reverse case analysis of PTSD and other mental health conditions affecting members of our profession. It is wonderful to see this issue being brought to the forefront given how many years the culture was to “toughen up”.

This Friday begins Suicide Awareness Month. Awareness for mental health issues is at an all-time high in EMS but we still have a long way to go. Just two weeks ago we lost yet another Paramedic in my community to suicide and the numbers are rising. According to a study conducted by Fitch & Associates as part of the Ambulance Service Managers Program, mental health struggles and depression among fire and EMS professionals are widespread, more than 10 times that of the average American. However, a survey conducted by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) revealed that the majority of respondents stated that they were dissatisfied with the mental health services available through their employer and that most respondents were too afraid to use the services for confidentiality concerns.

As a profession, we need enhance our efforts to remove the negative stigmatism connected to mental health issues in EMS.  As part of our efforts over the next month and beyond, be sure to make mental health part of the daily conversation. Regularly broadcast the mental health services that are available through your employer sponsored health plan or as part of your Employee Assistance Program (EAP). If your ambulance service does not currently offer EAP, the AAA provides free access EAP from Ceridian LifeWorks as part of your AAA membership.

Last year the EEOC published a guidance reminding employers of their obligation to not discriminate against individuals with mental health issues. In addition, it is important to remember that an employee’s mental health condition can meet the definition of a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In those instances, an employer will have an obligation to enter into the interactive process to determine if they can reasonably accommodate the employee’s mental health condition. Examples of possible accommodations include altered break and work schedules (e.g., scheduling work around therapy appointments), quiet work space or devices that create a quiet work environment, changes in supervisory methods (e.g., written instructions from a supervisor who usually does not provide them), and specific shift assignments. Employers are not required to accommodate any requested work accommodations, just reasonable requests.

There are many resources available for individuals and employers that highlight resources available to anyone who may need mental health assistance for themselves or a loved one. The Action Alliance, Code Green, and NAEMT, are organizations working to raise awareness for public safety and EMS professionals. We are all looking forward to the day when PTSD, Suicide, and other mental health issues are caught early, treated appropriately, and someday prevented by regular and ongoing mental health wellness programs. Until that time, please step up your efforts during the month of September and beyond.

OSHA to Launch Electronic Injury Reporting on August 1, 2017

A few weeks ago, we alerted AAA members that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had announced that it would further delay the deadline for employers to electronically file injury data.  The new rules, which require electronic injury data reporting were originally to take effect on July 1, 2017.  These rules were delayed until…

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Discovering the Meaning of EMS Week

Being in EMS since 1990 I can certainly tell you I have seen numerous EMS Week celebrations come and go. Did you know EMS week owes its founding to the American College of Emergency Physicians? In 1974, ACEP asked former President Gerald R. Ford to declare November 3-10 as National Emergency Medical Services Week. Since then, ACEP has moved the annual observance numerous times, finally landing on the third week in May. This move provided a distinction between EMS and Fire Prevention week.

EMS has always been a part of my life, from the EMT-M class I took in January 1990 to becoming an RN in 2008.  I have done almost everything in EMS a person could do, volunteer EMT, Paramedic, Critical Care Education, ED RN and now vice president of EMS Education at OnCourse Learning.

Let’s discuss ideally what EMS providers actually want most for EMS Week. This year, let’s dismiss all of the usual tchotchkes, mugs, t-shirts, hot dogs, pens and flash lights. I can honestly say after 25+ years, I’ve gotten it all and am a bit tired of it. The ED sponsored pizza, while a very kind gesture, always seems to go uneaten for a variety of reasons.

Let’s face it, we know we are under paid and over worked. Although I am always grateful for the sentiment people have for us as a profession during EMS week I’d prefer recognition more frequently, even every day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being ungrateful, the hot dogs and pens are appreciated. But let’s focus on what matters most for pre-hospital professionals – better pay, working conditions, and meaningful education.

Which brings me to the area I can influence most. Not the everyday education, you know card certs PHTLS, ITLS, APLS, PEPP, and EVDT etc. I want something more. I want continuing education that excites me. That embraces my desire to improve EMS and helps us all to change and improve the care we deliver to our patients. To change the protocols that guide us in the care we provide. Basically, what I am asking for is a seat at the table, minus the pens and hots dogs. Let’s start with a better educational foundation, a voice in the care we provide and deliver better care to those who rely on us to care for their loved ones.

About the Author
Scott F. McConnell is Vice President of EMS Education for OnCourse Learning and one of the Founders of Distance CME.  Since its inception in 2010, more than 10,000 learners worldwide have relied on Distance CME to recertify their credentials. Scott is a true believer in sharing not only his perspectives and experiences but also those of other providers in educational settings.

Cataldo Ambulance Service Wellness Couch to 5K

In October 2016, Kelli Megill, a Human Resources Generalist at AAA member company, Cataldo Ambulance Service based in Somerville, MA, attended the safety symposium hosted by their worker’s compensation carrier. Much of the symposium focused on why employees get hurt and what employers can do to help stop the trend. A reoccurring thread in all…

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A Novel Approach to Beginning an Injury Prevention Program

As leaders none of us discounts the importance of fitness and wellness programs for first responders. However from my personal experience I have not seen many leader let alone a coach / personal trainer at the departments I teach at across the country. Instead I see fitness minded first responders, cross fit™ coaches or more…

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