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A first-aid manual for the workplace

There are numerous reasons why first aid at work is required. First aid in the workplace can range from minor burns and wounds to preventing an accident from becoming a significant hazard and, in extreme situations, even saving someone’s life. If the injuries are severe enough, mechanisms for calling emergency services should be in place.

When it comes to first aid in the workplace, both employers and employees have responsibilities.

Responsibilities of the employer

Employers are responsible for everyone’s safety at work and hence have a legal obligation to ensure that they have a sufficient number of certified first aiders; whether the injury is work-related or occurs to a member of staff or the general public (on work premises), they will be called upon to assist.

Employers must do risk assessments to decide what degree of first aid is regarded as “sufficient and suitable.” Whatever plans they make must be communicated to employees, including what first aid equipment is available, what facilities are available, and who in the organization is first aid trained.

What about self-employed people?

Self-employed individuals are responsible for their own safety and must ensure that adequate measures and facilities are in place to keep themselves safe. It may be easy to share safety obligations if people operate in a shared office, but the HSE recommends that any agreements be in writing.

Responsibilities of employees

Employees have no direct duties for first aid at work (unless they are certified as first aiders), but any health issues should be reported to your employer so that they can be addressed in the first aid needs assessment.

For instance, if you have a condition that necessitates the use of an auto-injector or a spray for heart issues, you should notify your employer. Employers can guarantee that first aiders receive the necessary training in this case so that they can care for you if you become ill at work.

Assessment of first aid requirements

Legislation compels companies to provide “enough and acceptable” first aid provisions, although what constitutes “sufficient and appropriate” is largely up to individual employers. Employers can help by doing a First Aid Needs Assessment.

Provisions for first aid

Every workplace should have a first aid kit as a basic minimum. Your first aid needs assessment may indicate that you require additional or more specialized equipment, which you can add to the box or keep close.

First aid facilities

A first aid facility is a specialized place where first aid can be administered. If your First Aid Needs Assessment indicates that one is required, someone, a first aider, will be in charge of maintaining it clean, clear, and ready to use.

First responders

Every business should have a designated first aid worker as a bare minimum. They serve as a point of contact for emergency services, are in charge of maintaining and replenishing first aid supplies, and keep any first aid facilities operational.

An assigned person is not required to be first aid trained and hence cannot perform first aid.