How EMTS Can Avoid Injuries When Lifting

An emergency medical technician (EMTS) can avoid injuries when lifting patients onto a gurney by following simple steps. Lifting patients is an essential part of being an emergency medical technician (EMT), but it’s also one of the most common ways EMTs get injured on the job. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, nearly one in four injuries among EMTs is caused by lifting or moving patients.

Fortunately, there are some simple things that EMTs can do to avoid injuries when lifting patients. The first step is always to use proper lifting techniques.

The Proper Way to Lift

Aside from protecting themselves by getting accident and health insurance (A&H insurance), EMTs must be aware of the proper way to lift to avoid on-the-job injuries.

Lifting correctly can help prevent strains, sprains, and other injuries that commonly occur when lifting heavy objects or patients.

When lifting a patient, your clients should always bend with their knees, and not with their waist. It will help them use their leg muscles, much stronger than their back muscles, to do the lifting.

In addition, EMTs must keep the patient close to their body as they lift. Doing so will help to distribute the weight more evenly and avoid strain on their back.

Finally, they must avoid twisting their body while lifting. Instead, they ought to move their feet to face the direction they want. It will help to prevent injuries to their lower back.

Workouts to Avoid Back Injuries

It’s also wise for EMTs to strengthen their backs and legs with exercises that avoid injuries. Graham Medical shared three workouts recommended by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT):

Bird Dog

Your client should go on their hands and knees to do the bird dog. Then, they must fully extend their opposite arm and leg. For example, if they start with their right arm, they must also raise their left foot and repeat the process with the other arm and leg.

They should draw imaginary boxes in the air, keeping their back flat, hips level, and abs engaged. This move is a great way to improve posture and avoid lower back injuries.

Bowler’s Squat

One of the best exercises an EMT can do to avoid lower back injuries is the bowler’s squat. The bowler’s squat targets all of the muscles in the lower back, including the erector spinae and quadratus lumborum.

To perform a bowler’s squat, your clients should bring their arms up and lower their body with their right leg back. Alternate the legs and repeat the process.

Kettlebell Swing

The first step is to start with a light kettlebell, around 10% of their body weight. They can start by gripping the kettlebell with their hands in front of their body and then squatting down until their thighs are parallel to the ground.

From there, they need to bring their hips forward and use the momentum to swing the kettlebell to eye level. It’s best if your clients have a trainer or gym buddy to help them keep the suitable form as their body memorizes where to direct the pressure.


EMTs should keep their bodies healthy and avoid injuries to provide the best care possible for patients. Ultimately, they must know how to lift properly. You can help them by sharing these tips and ensuring they have protection with A&H insurance.

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