Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Oct 28;17(21):7906. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17217906.
Traditionally, safety-related research on firefighting has focused on fires and fireground smoke as the primary source of non-fatal firefighter injury. However, recent research has found that overexertion and musculoskeletal disorders may be the primary source of firefighter injury. This study aimed to provide an update on injury occurrence among career firefighters. Injury data were collected over a two-year period from two large metropolitan fire departments in the U.S. Injury data were categorized based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System. Cross-tabulations and Chi-square tests were used to determine the primary causes of injury, as well as the injury region. Between the two fire departments, there were 914 firefighters included in the analysis. The median age was 40.7 years old with those aged 40-49 as the largest age group for injury cases (38.3%). The most frequently reported cause of injury was ‘overexertion and bodily reaction’ (n = 494; 54.1%). The most reported injury region was in ‘multiple body parts’ (n = 331; 36.3%). To prevent subsequent musculoskeletal disorders that may arise due to overexertion, initiatives that promote enhanced fitness and ergonomics based on an analysis of the physical demands of firefighting are suggested.