The first goal of safety in the workplace is to prevent accidents by being prepared and proactive and by taking appropriate safety measures. Accidents can still happen and it is important to understand how to handle them.
First aid in the workplace involves assisting an injured person temporarily until professional medical care is rendered. First aid is not medical treatment. It is intended to stabilize a person as much as possible until professional medical help arrives.
Follow these eight steps and best practices in the workplace to ensure maximum safety:
Understand what first aid in the workplace entails.
Make sure that first-aid kits are fully stocked and accessible.
Use appropriate safety equipment to prevent further injury or accidents.
Know common medical issues that can occur in the workplace.
Report safety concerns to the appropriate parties as they arise.
Obtain basic first-aid training.
Be aware of your surroundings and assess the scene before rendering aid.
Protect yourself when rendering aid.
1. Understand what first aid in the workplace entails.
First aid in the workplace is not complete medical care. It is intended to help preserve life, prevent further injury and stabilize a person through basic first-aid measures until professional medical care can be provided. When an accident occurs in the workplace, the goal of first aid is to keep the injured person alive and safe until professional help arrives.
It is important to know your role. You should only offer aid in the form that you understand and are potentially trained in. If you are trained in CPR or use of an AED, you can provide these services when necessary. Otherwise, stick to what you know and are comfortable providing to keep the person stable and safe.
Workplaces are required by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to provide medical and first-aid supplies and personnel. Knowing your workplace’s medical and first-aid programs is important because this can differ greatly from employer to employer.
2. Make sure that first-aid kits are fully stocked and accessible.
First-aid kits and supplies can vary based on the workplace environment and the particular hazards. Consider all the possibilities when stocking a first-aid kit for your workplace. It can be beneficial to put a specific employee in charge of ensuring that first-aid kits remain regularly stocked.
First-aid kits need to be readily accessible. If life-threatening injuries are possible, first-aid kits should be accessible within four minutes. If life-threatening injuries are not expected, first-aid kits need to be able to be reached within 15 minutes.
3. Use appropriate safety equipment to prevent further injury or accidents.
One of the best workplace safety practices is ensuring that you and your employees are using the proper safety equipment. This can help prevent accidents and injuries and minimize the extent of them when they do occur.
Safety practices can include the following:
Wear appropriate shoes and clothing for the job.
Wear gloves when handling sharp or toxic objects.
Use face and eye protection if a potential hazard requires this.
Use safety harnesses when there could be a danger of falling.
Use the proper tools and machinery for the job and be properly trained in their operation.
Wear a breathing mask when there are airborne toxins.
Use appropriate equipment, including headgear, seatbelts and protective clothing, necessary for the job.
4. Know common medical issues that can occur in the workplace.
It can also be beneficial to understand what basic medical conditions are most common in the workplace. Then you can recognize these medical conditions and warning signs and provide the proper first aid for the situation.
Common medical conditions to be aware of include the following:
Know the signs and symptoms of each of these conditions so you can provide the right first aid while waiting for professional medical care to take over.
5. Report safety concerns to the appropriate parties as they arise.
If you see something, say something. This is another important preventative measure that can help keep your workplace safe. If you notice something that could be a safety hazard, report it immediately to the appropriate supervisor or personnel to ensure it is taken care of swiftly before an accident occurs.
6. Obtain basic first-aid training.
It can be beneficial to undergo at least basic first-aid training. Then you can know what to expect and can recognize the warning signs for common medical conditions and provide the appropriate first aid. CPR and AED training can be good to have. Know what kinds of first aid might be needed in your workplace and receive proper training.
7. Be aware of your surroundings and assess the scene before rendering aid.
In case of an accident, injury or medical emergency in the workplace, you need to assess the scene before rendering first aid. You should always know where the emergency exits are and where the first-aid supplies and kits are stored.
These are the proper steps to follow:
Check the scene for danger or hazards. It will not be helpful to get injured yourself while performing first aid. First, you should ensure that the hazard or danger is no longer active before rushing in. Eliminate the danger first if you can. If this is not possible, contact emergency services immediately.
Find the cause of the injury (the more information you can give medical professionals when they arrive, the better), but do not move the injured person. It is important to be mindful of potential internal injuries, so you should not move them.
Call 911 or emergency services. Stay on the scene until help arrives.
Administer basic first aid if you are trained to do so and the area is safe. Help keep the person calm and safe until medical care can be provided.
8. Protect yourself when rendering aid.
You need to ensure you are not putting yourself in danger when administering first aid. The first goal of workplace first aid is to protect yourself.
Assess the scene for danger and do not enter if it is not safe for you to do so. If someone on site has more medical training than you, allow them to perform first aid or the services they are trained for. You can help by keeping the scene clear, calling emergency services and getting the first-aid kit.
Be sure to wear PPE, or personal protective equipment, such as gloves, goggles, disposable masks, gowns or face shields when necessary to prevent exposure.
Let Alsco Help With First-Aid Needs
Alsco can help with the safety of your workplace by providing first-aid supplies and health and safety services. With equipment and safety experts, Alsco can help you meet safety standards and keep your environment safe while minimizing downtime due to injury or accidents.
Medical and First Aid. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Building Your First Aid Program. (April 2022). Safety and Health Magazine.