What are the First Aid requirements for my Workplace?
Often in First Aid courses we are asked about requirements in the workplace for First Aid. One of the most common questions is “should my workplace have a defibrillator?” If you are unsure about First Aid requirements in the workplace, you may not be aware that there is a First Aid Code of Practice .
For any business and employee EVERYONE is responsible for providing a safe work environment. This includes your staff, clients and contractors.
One study from St Johns First Aid found that many workplaces are not compliant under the code (First Aid Readiness in the Workplace St Johns Ambulance March 2013).
A requirement outlined in the Code of Practice is that specific training should be given that is suited to the workplace:
‘First aiders may also need to undertake additional first aid training to respond to specific situations at their workplace. For example, where workers have severe allergies, first aiders should be trained to respond to anaphylaxis if this topic has not been covered in previous first aid training.’
In order to meet this requirement, it is recommended that a business or organisation conducts risk assessments to identify training requirements in the workplace. Consider your industry and ask the following questions:
What does happen?
Are there injuries that do occur frequently? If the answer is yes, no matter how minor the injury, employees should have a basic understanding of how to respond and provide simple first aid. Imagine that a worker in a kitchen burns themselves during work, it is feasible to expect that they should be able to access basic first aid care and have received training on what to do in the event of a burn. It is an easily identifiable risk and should have controls in place. Accredited First Aid training is a very important step so that they have demonstrated and current knowledge, additionally, the workplace should have action plans and staff should be familiar with the internal process for managing the injury especially when the risk is likely to occur. A minimum of one person on duty is required to be trained in first aid, this does not mean that having one person meets the requirements, however. The risk management process should identify the need to have a suitable response in the event of an emergency. To respond effectively the whole working team may be involved in the process.
What could happen?
Account for all outcomes even if they are not likely, never say never. We are all familiar with the inquest process now after the Dreamworld tragedy. Although an unlikely event the question is always, how did you prepare for the event of [insert accident here]? What training was given, how was it delivered, how did you ensure that you could prevent or respond to such an incident? It is the role of supervisors, trainers and managers to ensure that employees can respond with confidence in the event of an emergency particularly when the industry does have inherent risks. Take a lifeguard for example, the incidence of drowning is overall low in Australia however we don’t omit having a trained lifeguard and rely on the limited incidence. Should the event occur, we prepare with training in CPR, rescue techniques, oxygen administration and even beyond this we should prepare for the management of a crisis. This includes the debriefing process, communication channels and incident stress.
How can I prepare for an incident? (Having a policy is not enough!)
We have all experienced ‘training’ passively seated in a room, listening to an extended verbal spiel of information and are assumed that were are competent at performing that task in the workplace at the end of this ‘training’. You might have even documented the attendance for records, just in case. Talking does not translate into competency and ensure that staff member is able to respond correctly in the event of an incident. To be competent we need to check for understanding, have accessible and visible and easy to use action plans with basic first aid care and perform regular in-house training with practiced emergency action. Practice, engage and debrief, challenge and engage employees to simulate an emergency, this is an easy way to identify gaps in knowledge and skills, have fun and learn through experience and do better each time.
Overall, when it comes to safety, don’t just look to meet a requirement, exceed them. First Aid is a skill for life, not just within the workplace. Cardiac Safe can offer contextualized First Aid training to match your own risk management, making the training fun, relevant and safe. Many workplaces see the value in sharing the expense of an AED among offices and location, leasing a defibrillator can be as little as a cup of coffee a day!
Work with the experts today.
Our highly skilled team at Cardiac Safe provide total first aid solutions from first aid compliance, training, risk assessment, and equipment and products sales.