Powered stretchers could reduce injuries, keep paramedics on the job

From Medical News Today:

Moving from manual to powered stretchers could reduce the number of injuries to paramedics by 78 per cent, a University of Waterloo study has found.

The study, published in Applied Ergonomics, found that paramedics who had access to stretchers with a battery-powered hydraulic system and an assisted ambulance-loading feature experienced significantly fewer musculoskeletal injuries on the job.

“In many cases, paramedics face spine compression that is well above the threshold limit. A manual stretcher alone can weigh nearly 100 pounds. Add on a 200-pound patient and a paramedic team is handling 300 pounds every time they raise, lower, lift or load the stretcher,” said Steven Fischer, assistant professor of kinesiology. “We estimate that a paramedic is lifting more than 1,700 pounds per shift on average, approximately the same weight as moving all of the furniture in a one-bedroom apartment.”