IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

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Low back pain and musculoskeletal accidents in fire fighters: Identification and analysis of hazardous situations during vehicle access and tool handling


CSST statistics as well as a previous IRSST study indicate that firefighters’ physical efforts can cause low back pain and musculoskeletal accidents in this group of workers. The present study, based on the premise that these disorders should be prevented in an environment adapted to firefighters’ work, proposes an analysis of the physical constraints associated with the layouts of firefighting vehicles. It was conducted with the participation of nine firestations from seven fire departments on 15 different emergency vehicles, with the collaboration of 49 volunteer and professional firefighters. The report presents the results of the analysis of the physical access to the emergency vehicles, the biomechanical stress on the lower limbs when a firefighter dismounts from the vehicle, and the effects of tool and equipment handling on the spine. The situations and equipment considered problematic were chosen jointly with a steering committee from the firefighting community. The results of this research are recommendations and solution scenarios, aiming mainly to reduce or eliminate the physical and biomechanical constraints present in firefighters’ work; their purpose is to help the joint occupational health and safety committee and to influence designers and manufacturers of specialized vehicles, tools and equipment.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 0095-8040
Status: Completed
Year of completion: 2002
  • Denis Giguère (IRSST)
  • Denis Marchand (Université du Québec à Montréal )