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Arch Hellen Med, 31(4), July-August 2014, 446-451


The type and causes of injuries in firefighters

F. Katsavouni, E. Bebetsos, P. Malliou, A. Beneka
Department of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, Democritus University of Thrace, Komotini, Greece

OBJECTIVE To study hereditary ataxias in the Greek population, focusing on the prevalence, geographical distribution and phenotypic and genotypic spectrum of Friedreich's ataxia and dominant ataxias, also known as spinocerebellar ataxias (SCA).

OBJECTIVE To investigate the nature and causes of occupational injuries in firefighters.

METHOD The study sample consisted of 3,289 full-time firefighters throughout Greece. Volunteer firefighters were not included in the survey. The age of the respondants ranged between 24 and 60 years, mean 36.4±6.19 years, and 3,167 (96.3%) were male and 122 (3.7%) were female firefighters. A self-administered work related injuries (WRIs) questionnaire was distributed to the firefighters by the researchers during work hours, the completion of which was optional. The questionnaire included information about the nature of the work and the employment history, personal characteristics, physical risk factors at work, the type of injury incurred, the injured body part and the cause-mechanism of the injuries. The validity and reliability of the questionnaire had been pre-tested among 80 firefighters. The responses were analyzed using frequencies, crosstabs and the the non-parametric test x2 with the statistical package Predictive Analytics Software (PASW Statistics), v. 18.0.

RESULTS Of the respondents, 356 (10.8%) reported having been injured at work, which in 238 (7.2%) had necessitated an absence from work of more than two days. The most commonly injuries were "acute lumbago", strain and ankle injuries. The most commonly specified injury mechanisms were falls/slips/trips, high intensity activity, inadequate technique and fatigue. Significant correlations were demonstrated between injuries and age, work experience, physical condition, impaired vision, difficulty in breathing due to smoke and toxic gases, sudden weight lifting, inadequate technique and lack of personnel and equipment (p<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS It is apparent that the occupational obligations of firefighters put a stress on the musculoskeletal and the respiratory system. Psychological factors should also be explored as they possibly influence the occurrence of work related injuries.

Key words: Firefighters, Injuries, Questionnaire, Work related risk factors.

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