EMS1 Featured Survey: Patient Handling

In October 2012, EMS1 conducted a survey on the state of Patient Handling in the industry. This survey represents a poll of 99 Emergency Medical Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians, Paramedics, and equivalent. We have posted the results to the survey below.


  • 57% of responders use a manual lift gurney only
  • 63% of responders would make their equipment safer with improved ergonomics
  • 26% of responders have been injured more than once due to patient handling

Here are some of the types of patient handling-associated injuries reported:

"pulled muscle in lower back"
"Lumbar strain"
"Neck, back and wrist injuries"
"Torn back muscles"

See the rest of the survey results below:

Question 1: What is your certification/licensure level? Pick the closest match.

SUMMARY:  44% have an EMT-B certification, and 34% EMT-P.

Question 2: What is your rank? Pick the closest, most common role you fill as an EMS provider.

SUMMARY: 72% of respondents are Field Providers.

Question 3: What sort of agency are you involved in?

SUMMARY: Survey respondents work in a variety of agency types, but primarily Private/commercial and Fire Departments.

Product Data:
Question 4: What gurney type(s) are you using on your primary response units?

SUMMARY: 57% use a manual lift gurney, and 26% have hydraulic or electric.

Question 5: If you had an opportunity to make a change on the design or capability of the gurney you use now, what would it be?

SUMMARY: 61% would improve the ergonomics for safer lifting.

Question 6: Which type(s) of stair chair are you using on your primary response units?

use a stair chair with track assist, and 41% use a manual carry stair chair.

Question 7: If you had an opportunity to make a change on the design or capability of the stair chair you use now, what would it be?

SUMMARY: Over 63% want to improve stair chair ergonomics as the primary change they would make.

Question 8: Is your agency equipped with bariatric stretchers or converters?

SUMMARY: 63% of respondants do not have bariatric stretchers or converters.

Question 9: Is your agency equipped with pediatric transport products?

SUMMARY: 71% of respondents do have pediatric transport equipment.

Question 10: Beyond gurneys and stair chairs, what other devices do you use to lift and move routine patients? In other words, if the patient does not require spinal precautions, but is unable to move on their own, what would you use to move them?

SUMMARY: 71% of respondents use a single-piece backboard most often to lift and move routine patients.

Question 11: Have you ever had an injury due to patient handling?

SUMMARY: 41% of respondents have never had an injury due to patient handling, but 26% have more than once.

Question 12: Of those who answered Yes to question 11, Did you file for workers' compensation?

SUMMARY: 64% did not file for workers' compensation.

Question 13: Overall, how much training did you receive in order to operate your patient handling equipment?

SUMMARY: 57% received enough training "to feel safe", and 30% reported receiving "more than enough" training.

Want more? Visit the Patient Handling product page for more news, tips, and videos.

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