Health and Safety Kit: First Aid in the Workplace
It’s an unfortunate fact that incidents requiring medical treatment will occur in any workplace from time to time, no matter how many precautions are put in place to prevent accidents from happening. As an employer, there is a legal obligation for you to have measures in place to provide adequate first aid provisions to deal with any emergency that may arise.
The range of accidents that can occur in the workplace naturally depend on the kind of activities that employees are involved in, and while careful health and safety planning will minimise the chances of a mishap occurring, nothing can be 100% effective – accidents must still be expected from time to time.
But it’s not only work-related incidents that can require a fast and efficient first aid response. Heart attacks, strokes, slips and falls – all of these and more can occur at any time, and pay no regard to even the most carefully controlled and regulated environment. To increase the chances of a positive outcome, it is vital to have competently trained first aid officers on site.
The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations Act 1981 requires all employers to have sufficient first aid procedures in place to handle incidents in the workplace, whether the emergency is caused by a work-related accident or by an employee falling ill. The regulations and responsibilities apply to organisations of all sizes, including those with five or fewer employees, and also the self-employed.
It is no longer the case that emergency first aid provision legally needs to be made for visiting members of the public or other non-employees, although it’s strongly recommended that such people be taken into account when putting together a first aid policy.
As an employer, you should have several measures in place to deal with an incident requiring first aid. These include, but are not limited to, the following.
- You should have a fully equipped first aid box which is easily accessible, or several depending on the size of the site.
- You should have enough employees with formal first aid training to ensure there is always a qualified member of staff on duty at any one time.
- You should have a staff member in place who has overall responsibility for first aid, in terms of preparation, procedures, and emergency action.
- All employees should be aware of who this responsible person is, and what the company procedure is in the event of first aid being required.
- Your first aid provision and procedures should be adequate and sufficient for the size of your workplace and the number of employees.
The level of first aid provision will vary depending on the size and nature of the workplace, and it’s the responsibility of the employer to undertake a risk assessment and to action the appropriate measures into place.
Basic level emergency first aid training is inexpensive and can be carried out within a short time frame, so you could opt to have as many of your employees as possible receive the most basic of training. After all, in a life threatening situation, every second can count, and taking immediate action can make a difference until a more highly qualified person can assume control. An appropriate course for this is the NUCO Emergency First Aid training course which is taught over one day, and covers areas including:
- Emergency resuscitation
- Dealing with bleeding
- Caring for an unconscious casualty
- Workplace-specific topics
For the person with overall first aid responsibility, more in-depth training is required, such as the NUCO First Aid at Work course. This course takes three days to complete, and includes all the material covered in the emergency course, plus the following and more:
- Spinal injuries
- Burns and scalds
- Asphyxia and circulation failure
- Incidents arising from diabetes, epilepsy and other conditions
By the end of the course, the candidate will be certified as a first aid officer to the standards required by the Health and Safety Executive, and will be fully equipped to handle emergencies, either until the situation has been resolved, or until paramedics or other professionals can take over.
No matter the size of your company, having one or more of your employees complete the above courses will be an effective foundation for meeting your legal first aid requirements and safeguarding the wellbeing of your workforce.
Health and Safety Training Ltd
To find out more about first aid training for your staff, and the minimum required level of first aid provisions, simply contact the team at Health and Safety Training Ltd. With years of experience and an expert team of instructors, we can tailor training to suit your requirements.The Health & Safety Kit: Confined Spaces Health and Safety Kit: Vibrations