Aim: The aim of the study is to analyse health threats and occupational risk based on the assessment of the State Fire Service (SFS) officers depending on the nature of the service performed in the combat division (commander, rescuer, driver).
Methodology: The questionnaire survey which was carried out included 181 officers serving in SFS units across the Lubelskie Voivodeship. An original questionnaire consisting of 16 questions was used as a research tool. The opening questions concerned the age and service experience of the respondents. The remaining questions with a 5-point Likert scale, a point-rating scale and single-choice questions (YES/NO) referred to how the officers assess health threats in their service and the risk level for individual professional duties.
Results: 50.8% of the respondents served as SFS rescuers, 32.1% as commanders, and 17.1% as drivers. One incident of damage to the skeletal system in the year before the survey was reported by 30 (16.6%) firefighters (including 19 rescuers). 26 (14.4%) firefighters (12 commanders) declared from 2 to 4 injuries. None of the firefighters declared more than 15 skeletal injuries per year. It was shown that firefighting activities were associated with the highest risk of health hazards – they concerned 20 (11.1%) firefighters. Sports activities were characterised by a high risk of injury, which was confirmed by 14 (7.7%) firefighters in the survey. 31 (17.1%) firefighters (14 rescuers, 12 commanders and 5 drivers) experienced stress reactions 2-4 times a year, while 6 (3.3%) officers (3 rescuers, 3 drivers) declared them to happen more than 15 times a year.
Conclusions: The analysis showed that health risks of firefighters occupying various positions in the combat division is at a similar level. Numerous health risks in the form of bodily injuries occur as a consequence of sports activities. At the same time participation in operational readiness inspections and training classes is considered as posing the least risk. The use of personal protective equipment and proper protection of the rescuers’ respiratory system have an impact on reducing the health risk during the service.
Keywords: accident at work, rescue and firefighting activities, State Fire Service, health hazards
Type of article: original scientific article