First aid facilities should be available at all times where there are people at work.
If an incident occurs that results in injury, first aid can help reduce the severity of the injury and, in extreme cases, a quick response could mean the difference between life and death.
The provision of information on first aid in the workplace should be an integral part of the induction of employees. This should include the location of first aid kits and the names and location of trained first aiders.
What are my first aid needs?
No two workplaces are exactly the same, so employers, in consultation with employees, need to assess their workplace to determine the first aid requirements appropriate for their situation.
Take a systematic approach, taking into account:
- the nature of hazards and the severity of risk
- the size, layout and location of the workplace
- the number of employees and their work arrangements, including location, shift-work, overtime and flexible hours
- access to medical services
- any previous injuries or illnesses.
First aid facilities
Depending on the information you collect, you'll need to provide some or all of the following:
- first aid kits – these should be clearly identifiable and well stocked, and the contents, number and location of kits should be determined having regard to the above factors in your workplace
- first aid rooms – these must be easily accessible, well lit, ventilated and temperature controlled, contain a sink or wash basin and a supply of hot and cold running water, as well as a means of boiling water, and should not be used for any other purposes
- first aid policies and procedures – which have been developed in consultation with staff.
Trained first aiders
The number of first aiders and training needs will vary between workplaces. As a general rule, persons designated as first aid officers will need to have undertaken training leading to a Senior First Aid certificate (Level 2 certificate).
Are my first aid facilities and training adequate?
You need to review your first aid requirements (including training needs)regularly to ensure they remain adequate, particularly whenever there are any changes to the workplace.
After any incident requiring first aid, you should record the details of any treatment given. You should ensure that first aid kits are restocked if necessary.
Other matters to take into consideration include:
- guidance on infection control
- use of analgesics (the role of a first aid officer does not extend to dispensing of medicines such as aspirin or paracetamol and these drugs should not be included in first aid kits)