First aid is the immediate treatment or care given to someone suffering from an injury or illness. The initial treatment a person receives directly after an injury, accident or when a person becomes ill at work is extremely important in achieving the aims of first aid.
What first aid training do I require?
First aid may be administered by the first person ‘on the spot’. It is generally recognised, however, that a first aider is a person who has had some level of formal training. First aiders may have skills that range from basic expired air resuscitation (EAR) or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to being able to provide more complex treatment.
Selection and training of first aid personnel is most important. First aiders should be familiar with the specific conditions and hazards at the workplace and the types of injuries likely to require treatment. The level of training that is needed should be determined according to the hazards identified at the workplace and the assessed risks.
How many first aiders are required at my workplace?
In selecting and determining the number of first aiders needed at a workplace, consideration should be given to:
- the hazards identified at the workplace
- an assessment of the risks associated with the hazards
- the size and layout of the workplace
- the location of the workplace including whether it is an isolated or remote workplace
- the distance from the workplace to the nearest occupational health or medical service, or ambulance service
- the number and distribution of employees including those employees working shift work.
What should I include in my first aid kit?
The first aid box should contain basic requirements and additional items appropriate to the workplace. The Code of practice: First aid, workplace amenities and P.P.E provides a guide for determining the contents and quantities for a basic first aid box. Individual items and quantities may vary according to the identified hazards and level of risk.
Can I keep paracetamol in my first aid kit?
It is not illegal for a workplace to keep paracetamol in the first aid kit, however If a workplace chooses not to supply paracetamol, that is their prerogative. A workplace cannot supply any other analgesics or medication unless someone qualified to dispense it available, i.e. a doctor or nurse.
Each workplace should develop a policy on what is to be provided in first aid kits. The policy may include procedures whereby employees sign for the receipt of paracetamol from first aiders. If this is the case, the first aider should not be held responsible for dispensing the paracetamol, only keeping it in the first aid kit. The policy should also advise workers that if they suffer from pain or a medical condition, they should keep a supply of their preferred medication with them.