First Aid In The Workplace: Employers Are Responsible
All employers, regardless of the environment, are responsible for making sure that any injured worker will receive immediate and adequate first aid treatment. First aid is not limited to minor cuts and scrapes, it can also include dealing with severe injuries and illnesses, as well as heart attacks and strokes. In order to be able to accomplish this the employer must make sure that enough people, in every work area (e.g. floor of a building) are trained in first aid. Several people must be trained to accommodate absenteeism, workers being on vacation, turn over of staff, and the risk of the trained first aider also requiring assistance.
The employer is responsible for providing safe and adequate transportation of an injured worker to medical facilities. Depending on the situation this may mean calling an ambulance, or in minor non-life threatening situations, arranging for a taxi. Employers must also have a method of reporting and collecting accident information, and this collection must be surrendered to authorities if requested, and to government health and safety inspectors.
The employer is responsible for maintaining adequate first aid supplies in the form of a first aid kit on site at all times. If it is a large work area they should also have a first aid room. A competent worker, or a group of workers if it is a large environment, should be made responsible for assuring first aid kits are maintained, but the ultimate responsibility rests on the employer.
First Aid Kit Contents
- Rescue breathing masks, which reduces the chance of disease transmission if rescue breathing is administered. A Bag Valve Mask is another option, but requires additional training.
- Gloves for the rescuer in case there is bodily fluids in the area, again, to reduce the chance of disease transmission. Ideally non-latex gloves are best because some people may be allergic to latex.
- Triangular bandages, which are used to tie things together, e.g. for arm slings, for bleeding, or for splints.
- Sterile dressings of various sizes. These are used to control severe bleeding.
- Bandages for minor cuts or scrapes.
- A few sugar cubes or sugar sacks in case someone is diabetic and suffers from hypoglycemia.
- Aspirin in case of a heart attack. More is discussed in a first aid course about this issue.
- Scissors in case clothing needs to be cut.
- Tweezers for removing non-serious splinters from the skin. They should never be used to remove anything from the eyes or the ears.
- Tensor bandages, which are ideal for wrapping a twisted joint until they reach the hospital – beware of not to restrict blood flow as this can lead to further injury.
- Portable oxygen may also be considered, but requires additional training and may be flammable in inappropriate conditions.
- A defibrillator, again, additional training is required. This machine is vital for heart attack victims.
- If there is a first aid room there should also be a bed, stretcher, and a wheel chair.
- If someone has a specific medical condition they should always have their own medications with them at all times.
- Medicine (with the exception of Aspirin), anything with needles, etc., should not be kept in a first aid kit. This type of thing is above the training of first aiders.