First Aid in the Workplace
Under the Work Health and Safety Act it is required by Australian law for all workers to have access to first aid equipment, facilities and trained first aid personnel. The first aid equipment and facilities must match the type of work being performed, size and location of the workplace, number of employees and number of potential customers or visitors.
A First Aid Risk Factor
In regards to first aid, workplaces can be classified as either high or low risk. This classification determines what first aid measures should be in place to abide by Australian laws. Safe Work Australia characterises high risk workplaces by:
The use of hazardous machinery such as chainsaws, power presses or lathes
The use of hazardous substances such as chemicals, oils and gases
Exposure to hazardous forms of work such as confined spaces, demolition and welding
Exposure to the threat of physical violence such as working alone at night or dealing with frequently aggressive people
Any risk of falls that could result in injury
Exposure to extreme heat and/or cold such as outdoor work
Low risk workplaces are any environment where employees are not directly exposed to any hazards that could potentially result in serious injury, such as offices or shops. Any potential workplace injuries will only require minor first aid.
First Aid Officers
Every workplace requires specifically trained employees to provide first aid until further help arrives. These officers must hold a current First Aid Certificate. The amount of first aid officers required changes depending on the workplace risk factor. Low risk workplaces are recommended to have one first aid officer for every 50 employees; high risk workplaces are recommended to have one for every 25 employees. First aid officers should be identified to all employees, with knowledge on how to recognise them in times of emergency. All staff should be aware of who the first aid officers are and how to contact them in an emergency.
First Aid Kits
First aid kits need to be clearly signposted and easy to locate using approved safety signs. Kits should be accessible, allow for prompt retrieval and be within range of high risk areas. Emergency floor plans should be on display with each first aid kit's location clearly identified. Portable first aid kits should be provided in vehicles for mobile workers.
Each first aid kit needs to be properly maintained and restocked, making sure that used items are replaced as soon as practically possible. During maintenance, any use by dates and item integrity should be checked to ensure that all items are in good working order.
When making a first aid kit purchase, thought should be put into where and what the kit will service. Occupation specific hazards should be identified and then catered to, this includes taking into account:
Number of persons the kit is servicing
Distance from the nearest medical centre manned by paid medical staff
Is it a food preparation or service area
Work occurs outdoors
Risk of burns
Risk of eye injuries
ATOM Safety recommend first aid kits from Fast Aid.
Fast Aid make picking a first aid kit easy with their clear packaging and simple classifications. No first aid kit is perfect for every situation. Therefore, it is important that before purchase, your worksite is assessed so you can find the right first aid kit to use.
Fast Aid first aid kits are categorised into series. Each is designed for use with different sized groups and risk factors.
Each first aid kit has then been tailored for specific industries such as industrial, construction and marine. Each recommended industry is clearly marked for easy identification. Most kits are available in metal, plastic or soft cases, so they can be personalised to suit performance requirements of individual worksites. In addition to the base kits, Fast Aid also offer expansion kits to assist with wounds such as burns, eyewash, eye wounds and snake or animal bites.
It is essential that first aid kits are always stocked. Fast Aid also provide individual first aid materials and utensils to upkeep existing kits.
A First Aid Risk Assessment
Your local ATOM Safety representative can complete a workplace first aid assessment, assisting you in implementing a tailored, fit for purpose first aid plan. This includes defining your workplace risk factor and determining what first aid equipment and materials your workplace should have available.
Contact the ATOM Safety team to ensure you have the correct first aid kit for your needs.