Making sure that your team is trained to deal with injuries, bumps and emergencies using first aid in the workplace is more important than you think. With world first aid day occurring this weekend, why not use the opportunity to shape up on your knowledge and skills? First aid saves lives and knowing what to do in an emergency can make all the difference, which is why it’s important for you and your team to know how to carry out first aid. Whether it be taking a course or just brushing up on their skills, any knowledge is better than none.
What do I need to do?
The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 requires you to provide adequate and appropriate first-aid equipment, facilities and people so your employees can be given immediate help if they are injured or taken ill at work. The adequacy and appropriacy of your workplace’s first aid depends heavily on your circumstances and industry. As an employer, it is your duty to assess your workplace’s first aid needs and meet them, but it is essential that as a minimum for any work on-site you have; a suitably stocked first aid kit, an appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements and information for employees about first-aid arrangements.
When assessing your business’s first aid needs, it’s important to look at a range of factors and the environment your team are working in. As an employer, it’s important to look out for certain hazards such as;
- any active machinery
- chemicals and other hazardous materials
- uneven or elevated floors and walkways
- confined spaces
- areas exposed to harsh weather conditions
- electrical hazards
- on-site traffic (e.g. warehousing or construction)
- sharp or heavy implements
- slipping or tripping hazards
- any other potential sources of accident or injury
What should I have?
When it comes to your first aid box, the 1981 Act requires employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. What you need will depend highly on your individual business. As a general rule of thumb, having a leaflet, wrapped plasters in assorted sizes, eye pads, triangular bandages, safety pins, wound dressings and disposable gloves will be enough to get you started.
Sometimes, an assessment of your workplace may find that you don’t need a first aider. In this instance, you should still decide to appoint someone to take charge of first aid arrangements. The role of an ‘appointed person’ includes looking after first-aid equipment and facilities and calling the emergency services when required. Even in a low hazard business that doesn’t require a first aider, there is always a possibility of an accident or illness occurring, which is why it’s important to always have someone to take charge of said arrangements.
When it comes to first aid, dealing with the situation doesn’t end at fixing up the casualty. All employers, self-employed people and people in control of work premises have duties under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations act, which includes reporting work-related injuries, cases of ill health and dangerous occurrences. To cover yourself and your employees, it’s advised that you have an accident report book in which you can record all incidents.
Improving your skills
Whether it’s you or a dedicated member of your team, first aid training is available from a wide range of training providers. You can look around to find a course that suits you and your team. Popular choices often include those offering nationally recognised, regulated qualifications in FAW and EFAW; voluntary aid societies such as St John Ambulance, British Red Cross and St Andrew’s First Aid; those operating under voluntary accreditation schemes and those who operate independently.
Having the right equipment and first aiders to hand is a great place for every business to start, but it’s important to not forget about your employees. It is essential that you inform all of your employees of the arrangements you have put in place for first aid. Making sure that you put up suitable notices telling staff who and where the first-aiders or appointed persons are, and where the first-aid box is, will ensure that your team trust that there is a suitable protocol in place.
At Protectus, we understand the importance of taking care of your team whilst planning ahead for the future. Whether it’s first aid or insurance, we’re on hand to offer tailored and trustworthy insurance advice for companies of all shapes and sizes. From health insurance to keyman insurance, we can keep you and your team covered for the years to come. Get in touch to see how we can help guide the future of your business.