In the workplace, seconds are the difference between an accident becoming an emergency, and the more people at the scene who can provide appropriate first-aid response, the better a patient’s outcome will be.
Employers are required to have a level of first-aid provision assessed against the business risks according to the Health And Safety Executive, typically taking the form of suitably trained first-aiders and first-aid equipment provided according to the outcomes of the first-aid needs assessment (risk assessment for first aid intervention against business risks and foreseeable incidents).
Workplaces with more dangerous hazards such as volatile chemicals or potentially dangerous machinery will need more specialised training, equipment, and a first-aid room where someone can be taken if they are injured or taken ill.
Whilst the HSE does not specify beyond the minimum provision required for different workplaces, the more people who have basic first-aid knowledge and training in the workplace, and training some of these first aiders with an enhanced capability will allow faster intervention and a greater chance of surviving a medical episode of incident at work.
Here are some important first aid techniques every employee should be aware of.
Preserve, Prevent, Promote
The main philosophy behind immediate first-aid response is to focus on three main aspects which are known as the “Three Ps”. These are to preserve life, prevent further injury and promote recovery.
This is the order you should take when handling any emergency and should focus on stopping any immediate danger to life first and foremost, then doing what you need to to stop any further or more severe injury, before finally helping someone to heal.
As well as this, make sure the area in which someone is injured is free from dangers. If you have injured yourself you cannot help anyone else. Time is critical, but your health is as well.
Blood is what makes our bodies function and if we lose too much we die, so it is important to clean and dress a cut as soon as possible.
Take a clean bandage from your first aid kit, or find any clean fabric available, then purify the wound by gently pouring clean water over it, apply antibiotics to avoid the wound getting infected before covering the wound with a bandage.
After this, raise the injured body part above the heart to reduce the amount of blood flow and clean around the wound, redressing it.
For burns caused by severe heat, cool the burn by gently running cool water over it, removing any jewellery, clothing or other objects touching the burned area before it starts to swell. Do not remove any object stuck to the burn already.
After this cover the area loosely with cling film, and monitor the injury whilst you seek further advice from emergency services.
Chemical burns on the other hand depend largely on the type of chemical that has come into contact with the injured person. These can be serious, if not life-threatening and must be handled carefully to ensure you are not affected by the burn as well.
Wear protective gloves, ventilate the area, brush any powder off the skin if the chemical is in powder form and flood the burn with cool running water to disperse the chemical and call emergency services.
Whilst waiting for an ambulance to arrive, continue to cool the burn and carefully remove any clothing that has come into contact with the chemical.
If you need any assistance with your first aid needs assessment, basic or enhanced first aid training or first aid equipment that your teams require, please get in touch today.