Your obligations and first aid
Employers have a duty of care under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (The Act) to prevent exposure to health and safety risks arising in the ordinary course of business. However, as a point of practicality, workplace accidents and health issues cannot always be completely mitigated against.
A First Aid Policy and Procedure is an essential resource, which can be used to guide your team’s response when the unexpected happens. Often these events occur unexpectedly and fast action is needed to ensure the best chance of recovery for the injured person. By having an effective policy in place that your team has been trained in and understands, you enable your team to be confident that they are doing the right thing for an injured person until professional assistance arrives (if requried).
In addition to ensuring your workplace has an adequate First Aid Policy and Procedure in place, the obvious step is to ensure a First Aid kit is available at all times in locations where employees are working.
First aid kits
First aid kits come in a variety of styles, ranging from basic ‘Band-Aid and plaster’ kits to expensive, all-encompassing kits. A First Aid kit should be selected based on the equipment that might be required having regard to the work your employees and contractors at the location of work are engaged in. For example, a comprehensive kit designed to treat serious wounds would be appropriate for a tradesman, but might not be necessary in an office environment. The WHS Queensland First Aid Code of Practise provides a list of basic supplies and equipment that all First Aid kits should have.
Employees working away from the primary business location must also have access to First Aid at all times. It is therefore recommended that all work-issued vehicles be equipped with First Aid kits as well. If an employer requires their employees to use their own vehicles for work purposes, they should be provided with a First Aid Kit. The location of First Aid kits, including those kept in vehicles, should be identified with a clearly visible sign.
The Act also required that either ‘an adequate number of workers are trained to administer first aid’ or that workers have access to persons who have been trained in First Aid. To satisfy this requirement, it should be ensured that a trained First Aid officer is always present in the workplace. First Aid officers should undertake refresher courses annually to ensure they are confident in their ability to apply first aid.
How we can help!
Sync or Swim can assist your business with developing and implementing a compliant, practical and effective first aid policy for your business. We can also put you in touch with excellent, proven and qualified first aid trainers across Australia to ensure your team is ready for the unexpected.
Another practical first aid tool staff can have on hand in addition to qualified training, is the St John Ambulance App, which has detailed instructions for dealing with a number of common first aid incidents.
Article by: David Kehoe, Business Development and Compliance Consultant.