A national conference to develop methods for decreasing the number of paramedics injured on the job was held Saturday in Ottawa.

Currently, about one in four paramedics sustain workplace injuries—the second highest rate among Canadian workers, next to foresters and crab fishers.

Organizers of the annual Paramedicine Expo hope the conference will improve that number.

"The injury rate is exceptionally high," said Darryl Wilton, president of the Ottawa Paramedics Association.

Wilton said the high level of injuries can be attributed to a changing work environment where volatile situations—such as the G20 and G8 summits—heavier patients and more calls are becoming more regular occurrences.

Stan Murrow, an Ottawa paramedic for over 20 years, has been unable to work regular duty for two years due to a hip injury—an ailment rare for a 45-year-old man.

"I've had my right hip rebuilt twice in the last two years," Murrow said. "Because of the job? Yes, because of the wear and tear."

Murrow is not alone. The injury rate for the Ottawa Paramedics Association is 26 per cent. In an effort to curb the high number, the association recently purchased a bariatric lift to take some of the load off paramedics' shoulders.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Joanne Schnurr