Introduction Firefighters are responsible for the safety of citizens, and perform functions that include fire suppression and emergency medical services (EMS). As such, they are exposed to physical or chemical hazards that lead to high rates of occupational injuries. Despite a plethora of studies, there have been only a few systematic investigations to identify factors influencing occupational injuries among firefighters. In this study, which is based on a survey of all Korean firefighters, we aimed to investigate the existence of a correlation between job stress and occupational injury among firefighters.
Methods Cross-sectional study was conducted via a survey targeting firefighters in South Korea between July and November 2007. A questionnaire was mailed to 30 630 firefighters; 25 615 (83.6%) responded. Statistical analysis was performed using the SAS 9.2 software (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA).
Results Among fire suppression personnel, high job demands (OR=1.49, 95% CI: 1.25 to 1.77), high interpersonal conflicts (OR=1.18, 95% CI: 1.02 to 1.37), a poor organisational system (OR=1.33, 95% CI: 1.14 to 1.55), and a negative workplace environment (OR=1.41, 95% CI: 1.21 to 1.64), and high job demands (OR=1.22, 95% CI: 1.01 to 1.47) were associated with the occurrence of occupational injury. Among emergency medical services personnel, high job demands (OR=1.26, 95% CI: 1.03 to 1.54), high interpersonal conflicts (OR=1.40, 95% CI: 1.19 to 1.66), a poor organisational system (OR=1.55, 95% CI: 1.30 to 1.85), lack of reward (OR=1.43, 95% CI: 1.21 to 1.69) and a negative workplace environment (OR=1.30, 95% CI: 1.10 to 1.54) were associated with the occurrence of occupational injury.
Conclusion High job stress among firefighters was associated with both the occurrence of occupational injury, and also with an increased frequency of injuries. Therefore, job stress should be addressed to prevent occupational injuries among firefighters.