How to organise first-aid care in your company?
As an employer, you are responsible for the organisation of first aid in your company. If an accident occurs in the workplace or an employee falls ill, there must be enough people to offer assistance and quickly. How does your organisation prepare for this?
1. Determine the types of measures needed for your company
The types of measures and first aid knowledge required at your company depends on the nature of your activities. A risk analysis clarifies the type of help you should be able to provide to your employees, contractors, sub-contractors, etc. These include, at a minimum:
- prompt and efficient emergency assistance;
- transport to the treatment room or a doctor or hospital in the area;
- contact with specialised emergency services, if required.
What about first aid in these coronavirus times?
To combat the spread of the coronavirus, there are a number of extra measures that must be taken when administering first aid.
Before and during first aid treatment
- Provide disposable gloves and face masks, as well as a closed waste container or rubbish bin for disposing of the used materials.
- Treatment should be offered in the designated treatment room as much as possible (i.e. not at the accident location).
- The victim and first aid responder must comply with the hand hygiene procedure at all times.
- The first aid responder should keep the treatment as simple as possible and limit verbal communication to reduce the distribution of saliva droplets.
- If the victim is able to treat his or her own injuries, the first aid responder can provide instructions from a safe distance.
- In the event of a possible cardiac arrest, the first aid responder should visually check whether the victim is still breathing (without listening or feeling). The first aid responder should only use chest compressions and – if available – an AED device (not mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) when performing CPR.
After first aid treatment
- Carefully disinfect all surfaces and objects used and air out the room.
- Do not register the treatment until after the victim has left the treatment room. Also record the name of the first aid responder and any other close bystanders.
View an overview of extra measures during the coronavirus pandemic in this handy infographic.
2. Develop an internal emergency response plan
The procedures and resources should be described in an internal contingency plan prepared together with the internal or external occupational health and safety services. The company doctor can assist with the preparation work and help evaluate the plan on completion.
3. Organise a team of first aid responders or designated employees
Employees who attend a first aid training course can, for example, determine whether a wound can be treated internally. This prevents wasting employee time unnecessarily in a waiting room.
- Is your organisation active in the industrial sector? If so, you are legally required to offer a trained first aid responder for every 20 employees. Non-industrial organisations require a first aid responder for every 50 employees.
- Companies with fewer than 20 employees must always have a designated employee with first aid knowledge present.
4. Ensure trained first aid responders in the workplace
A first aid responder must undergo basic training and attend a refresher course every year after that. This can be done every other year if you can demonstrate that he or she has sufficient knowledge and skills. A designated employee requires only a four-hour introductory course.
During these training courses, first aid responders learn to assess injuries and administer first aid. The risk analysis indicates which skills are specifically needed by your organisation.
What about first aid training courses during these coronavirus times?
A few recommendations with regard to first aid training during the coronavirus pandemic:
- Employees can cover the theoretical modules of the basic training and the refresher training can take place through video conferencing or e-learning.
- An extra module on the risks of COVID-19 and the additional measures are indicated.
- Postpone practical training until after the pandemic as much as possible or limit it to only the absolutely necessary aspects of both basic and refresher training
- If an employee is awarded a certificate during the pandemic, that person must repeat the practical exercises during the next refresher course.
View all first aid training courses.
Would you like to have every useful First Aid tip in your pocket? Then download the free ‘First Aid – Red Cross’ app
It is important to react quickly and correctly in the event of minor injuries, such as a nosebleed or an abrasion, as well as in the event of serious accidents. The app does not replace First Aid classes, but it will enable anyone to learn the basics of First Aid themselves or to find out what needs to be done in case of an emergency. In addition to First Aid knowledge, the app also offers a handy overview of where you can find the nearest AED device.
5. Record all first aid treatment
The legally required first aid register offers an excellent overview of incidents and their follow-up. This information is very helpful for prevention programmes and is also useful when insurance issues arise if a seemingly innocent wound turns out to be more serious and must be reported. It also makes it easier to collect information for your annual report.
What to record in the first-aid log?
- the identity of the first-aid worker, the victim and any witnesses;
- the time, location and circumstances of the incident or sudden illness, including a description;
- the time and type of intervention;
- the cause and nature of the wound, the wound care provided, and any follow-up care.
During the coronavirus pandemic, it is extra important to maintain a good register for purposes of contact tracing in the event of an infection. So, make sure to not only record the names of witnesses to the incident, but also everyone who assisted in administering first aid. Also note the duration of the treatment in order to properly estimate the risk of contact.
What should be in your first-aid kit?
Contact your occupational health physician for assistance. Apart from the standard first-aid tools and equipment, the contents of your first-aid kit will depend on the nature of your company’s activities.
Relevant legislation on first aid can be found in Book I Welfare at Work Codex.