New research will assess the musculoskeletal health of UK and European firefighters in a bid to better understand the prevalence of this kind of injury and the knock-on impact on the fire service.
Luxfer Gas Cylinders, a world-leading provider of reliable, durable, high-performance cylinders that can endure the most extreme conditions firefighters are working in, is undertaking the study (available here).
Musculoskeletal injury refers to damage of muscular or skeletal systems, which is usually due to a strenuous activity, and can affect bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons. At its most serious, the condition can cause pain so severe it is disabling, with those affected unable to perform daily tasks.
Existing peer-reviewed research includes:
- A study in Poland where a one in four firefighters who became classed as disabled or who had to retire through ill health cited musculoskeletal problems as the cause
- In a US study, more than 40% of injuries sustained during one year of research were caused by musculoskeletal issues.
But little research exists in the UK on this topic.
Luxfer is polling serving firefighters across Europe to find out if they have suffered musculoskeletal problems in the line of duty. Research could help the company shape future innovations in this area, with the weight of SCBA cylinders a key consideration.
The research will also help capture:
- The level of musculoskeletal pain experienced
- Which areas of the body it has most affected
- What support they have received to treat their condition
Jeff Book, Marketing Manager at Luxfer Gas Cylinders, explains: ‘Luxfer has an international reputation for supplying millions of cylinders for use by firefighters worldwide, and we hope this research will give us valuable insights to help better understand the current needs of firefighters.
‘We know equipment has to be reliable, durable and safe to operate in extreme environments. Technology is now allowing us to pioneer improved materials that deliver the same high performance but without placing a weight burden on the firefighter that could lead to health issues. Existing studies have identified that musculoskeletal injuries are a significant factor that affect firefighter health at work. Understanding the extent of this problem is critical to ongoing innovation in our SCBA applications, so we can make a positive difference to the day-to-day lives of firefighters.’
Firefighters in the UK or Europe are invited to complete the study at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/firefighterhealthresearch
All respondents can be entered into a draw to receive a £100 Amazon voucher.