First Aid for the Workplace
OSHA has outlined their “Best Practices Guide: Fundamentals of a Workplace First-Aid Program”. It is contained with a 26 page guide that offers the advice needed to ensure that you have a complete and well-rounded first aid program at your workplace.
As OSHA states in their publication “First aid is emergency care provided for injury or sudden illness before emergency medical treatment is available”. Many times in a workplace first aid care has to take place immediately while waiting on the paramedics to arrive in the ambulance. It is important to have someone that is trained to deliver initial first aid care using a limited amount of first aid equipment while performing the primary assessment while waiting for emergency medical team to arrive.
There are four essential elements to consider:
- Management leadership and employee involvement
- Worksite analysis
- Hazard prevention and control
- Safety and health training
When creating your workplace first aid program you should consider these basic elements.
- Identifying and assessing the workplace risks that have potential to cause worker injury or illness. Since each workplace is unique in its own way you need to pay particular attention to the hazards and risks involved in each area of your work place. For example the front office will most likely contain very few hazards, but your warehouse depending on what type products you sell or use will most likely contain more hazards that you need to take into consideration.
- Design a workplace first aid program that will contain the amount of first aid supplies that will be needed for the type of hazards located within each jobsite.
- Train first aid responders suitable for the specific workplace they are located in and also provide refresher courses on first aid skills.
- Instruct all employees about your first aid program and instruct them in what they should do if a co-worker is injured or becomes ill. It is recommended that you create a written policy about your first aid program and that it is readily available to all employees.
- Provide a program to keep your first aid program current and up to date. Be sure to regularly assess your workplace for changes and any additional risks that may become known.
- First Aid Supplies-
- OSHA advises that each employer gives a specific person the responsibility of choosing the types and amounts of first aid supplies as well as the task of maintaining these supplies. The supply contents must be adequate and should reflect the types of injuries that occur and stored in an area where they are readily available for emergency access. Since each job site is different and unique in its own way it is recommended that you take into careful consideration when selecting the type and quantity of first aid supplies needed for each area of your jobsite. An automated external defibrillator (AED) should also be considered when creating your first aid supply list. ANSI Z308.1 minimum requirements for workplace first aid kits are suitable for small businesses. Larger operations are recommended to determine how many first aid kits are needed and also order additional supplies as needed.
A first aid program will differ greatly between a large office and a construction firm. The needs between these two work environments vary based on the type of injuries that most commonly occur. When choosing the first aid supplies you will need for your particular workplace you need to consider the risks and type of first aid accidents that may occur. Also you will need to consider the number of employees that are at each of your locations to be certain that you have the quantity of first aid supplies to cover many different first aid risks and scenarios.
First Aid Training:
Many large companies invest in health and safety training for their employees, but often overlook first aid and CPR training. There are many benefits to investing in first aid and CPR training within your workplace.
- Your employees will become aware of the benefits of working safely and this will help to reduce the number of accidents
- First aid and safety along with learning CPR skills save lives. Training in these skills gives both knowledge as well as the confidence to your employees allowing them to manage a first aid emergency effectively.
- Employees who have received first aid training will know exactly what supplies are in your workplace first aid kits and also know how to use the contents in case an emergency arises.
- Employees who have this training also contribute to their outside world and can quickly step in and assist if a first aid emergency arises outside of work as well.