The importance of first aid in the workplace

The modern workplace, whether it is a factory or an office, is not immune to risks and dangers.  Employees are vulnerable to a variety of on-the-job injuries and illnesses and employers are required to see to it that their employees receive immediate care if they are injured whilst at work, or become gravely ill while on the business premises.

Government health regulations require employers to have emergency plans and trained staff to ensure their employees’ health and safety at work. Implementing first aid training requirements is the best way for an employer to protect himself and his employees in the event of an emergency.

First aid requirements and training

Employers have certain minimum first aid responsibilities: to keep a properly-stocked first aid kit; to designate a trained employee who will take charge in an emergency situation; and to provide information detailing the first aid plans and arrangements to all their employees.

You can become qualified in first aid by completing the proper training and will receive a certificate of completion and competency upon finishing the course.  First aid training includes, CPR and AED training.  In first aid training, you learn to recognize and cope with a variety of  emergencies, including burns, cuts and scrapes, sudden and unknown illnesses, head, neck and back injuries, and other emergencies such as heat stroke or hypothermia.  CPR classes are offered for adults and for children and infants.  Both types of CPR classes teach you how to prevent, recognize and respond properly to cardiac and breathing emergencies.  Training in the use of AEDs, or automatic external defibrillators, is also highly recommended and useful.

In addition to these standard classes in first aid, you can also train in a range of specialty classes such as disease transmission prevention, injury management, administering emergency oxygen and epinephrine auto-injector use.

After completing a first aid course, it is recommended that you keep your skills up-to-date by attending an annual refresher course.  Keeping your skills and your certifications current benefits both you and any person you provide aid to in the future.

Legal obligations

When your employer provides you with first aid training, the expectation is that you will use your skills while on duty. This expectation is called a “duty to act”. If an emergency occurs when you are not on duty, and you go ahead and intervene to help someone, you are under the protection of the “Good Samaritan Law”.  In either case, it is unlikely that anyone will take legal action against you for using your first aid training at work.  If you are concerned about possible liabilities, seek your own legal advice or talk to your employer’s to see what their insurance policies cover.

Employers who do not have their staff trained and certified in first aid can expose themselves to legal action by any employees who are injured or are taken ill at work and not attended to.

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