9-1-1, Lumière sur un travail méconnu
Title translated into English
Focus on an unacknowledged work
Film: Duration in minutes
This video provides an inside look at the work performed by 911 emergency call centre agents. Call centre agents and directors as well as researchers take turns explaining the real work done by the agents in the overall context of the emergency management system. The video also illustrates the physical and psychosocial work demands the agents face.
Aims and objectives
In collaboration with stakeholders, the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST) produced a video aimed at raising awareness of the physical and psychological health risks involved in the job of emergency call centre agent.
The Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST), responding to the request of occupational health and safety representatives in the municipal affairs sector, investigated the health problems experienced by 911 emergency call centre agents. Carried out behind the emergency services scenes, this occupation has been the subject of few studies to date, remains largely unknown and has a low profile compared to the occupations of police officer, firefighter and ambulance technician. While the actions of first responders in the field expose them to the public eye and to many risks that endanger their own lives, call centre agents appear sheltered for they are seen as simply answering telephones in an office. It is only when emergency services are not delivered as quickly as expected that these agents come into view. Yet what do we know about this occupation? Is the job as easy as it looks? This video was produced on the basis of two studies, one on musculoskeletal problems and the other on psychological health in the workplace, conducted in the call centre sector. A follow-up committee comprised of employer and employee representatives of five emergency call centres, as well as representatives of government agencies and prevention-related occupational health and safety agencies, assisted the multi-disciplinary research team throughout the studies. The results of the two studies showed that the high work demands faced by the emergency call centre agents were often underestimated and poorly understood. The agents were exposed to high work demands for which they did not have all the support mechanisms needed to safeguard their health. The research team and follow-up committee concluded that the best way to help develop such support mechanisms, transfer the results to the sector and ultimately raise awareness of this occupation was to produce a video based on the research results. Such a video seemed all the more necessary as the target population was varied and did not necessarily have the time to consult written documents. The video medium also seemed a better option for conveying the emotional experience of emergency call centre agents, who are faced with dramatic events in the course of their duties. To promote use of the video, DVDs were distributed to 30 emergency call centres in Québec and several municipal police departments. In addition, college training centres included the tool in their programs. A Québec television station dedicated to the dissemination and popularization of knowledge broadcast the video several times in 2013, and it was broadcast by one French television station. It can also be viewed online on the IRSST’s Web site.
Emergency call centre administrators, managers and agents; college centres offering the emergency call centre agent training programs; first responders (police officers, firefighters and ambulance technicians), police and firefighter schools; and a