First Aid at Work
Employers are required to provide a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. A first aid emergency can leave a workplace reeling if no one is properly trained in how to handle the crisis. Offering employees a first aider training course as part of their workday is an effective method of ensuring that a company is prepared to deal with any emergency that may arise.
Employees who have been certified in first aid are equipped to deal with a variety of situations: choking, stroke, heart attack, burns, bleeding and more. More than just knowing where the first aid kit is located, the first aider at work has confidence of being able to use what is inside the first aid kit. Knowing how and when to care for the injured helps keep everyone involved calm, helps the injured receive the care they need.
What is required?
Each company’s requirements for on-site first aiders are affected by a variety of factors: the industry the company is in, the number of employees and the proximity of medical facilities. Heavy industries such as construction sites, manufacturing plants or garages would need to have a higher number of first aiders on the premises. Lighter industries such as banks, attorneys or retail establishments would not need as many first aiders on site. Consulting with local health offices will indicate the exact number of first aiders needed – usually based on the size and type of business. Careful scheduling and planning can ensure that each company has adequate coverage of first aiders during lunch times or early/late opening hours. With an increasing tendency towards litigation in the event of an accident, it is in the company’s best interest to provide not only appropriate health coverage, but certified employees who can provide emergency first aid as needed.
Establishing a training course that offers first aid and other safety and health concerns demonstrates to employees that they are valued. More than just an employee who sits at a desk, they become someone who is cared about. When employee morale is high, there is less turnover and less disgruntled employees. Employees then create an environment where safety is a priority and the individual employee is valued. A thorough first aid course will cover basic first aid such as bleeding and burns, and include stroke, administering CPR and heart attacks. In addition, all employees should be aware of the location and contents of the first aid kit. All kits should be checked quarterly for restocking purposes. First aid procedures need to be visible and accessible to staff, and certified first aiders should be prominently located. Signage should assist in locating first aid supplies quickly, as well as be of assistance in first aid procedures.
Any business that has dealings with people either as employees or as customers should provide training for first aid. Being prepared to deal with any situation that may arise not only makes sense, it makes good financial sense. Including first aid into a training package in the workplace is one of the most important decisions an employer could make.