The UK is one of the best places for workplace health and safety. This is most likely because of the fact that the majority of employers take health and safety seriously.
However, although UK health and safety figures are promising, around 150 workers die at work every year, and over 500,000 will get a workplace injury.
This is part of the reason why health and safety is so important, and training workers in emergency first aid is key. But what exactly is emergency first aid? And why is it so important?
Keep reading to learn more about emergency first aid in the workplace, and why it’s essential for employers to have an emergency first aid plan in place.
What Is Emergency First Aid?
Emergency first aid is exactly what you’d expect - it’s giving help to somebody injured or ill, keeping them as safe as possible until they can receive professional medical treatment at a GP, hospital, or health professional.
A first aider should be able to give both practical help and reassurance or emotional help. It’s also their role to ensure those around are safe and remain away from the injured person, so they don’t worsen the situation or cause panic and distress.
The key responsibilities of emergency first aiders can be remembered by using the three p’s - preserve life, prevent worsening, and promote recovery.
Firstly, a first aider will need to act quickly to save the life of the person in need. To do this, they should ensure the area is safe, and keep order if people are panicking to prevent more casualties.
Then, they should ensure that the casualty is protected from more harm by completing relevant first aid and checking on their vital signs.
An emergency first aider should also promote recovery by continually monitoring their signs and offering plenty of reassurance. If the casualty is looked after emotionally and reassured, they will feel less anxiety and will be more likely to recover well.
Why Is Emergency First Aid at Work Important for Employers?
Each and every employer has a legal responsibility to ensure that health and safety requirements are met, regardless of the industry.
This involves making sure that the appropriate first-aid arrangements are in place at work - however, there is no blanket rule for this.
It depends on the specific circumstances of the workforce, potential health and safety risks, and the workplace itself.
Depending on the above, an employer may decide that a first aider or multiple first aiders are needed in the workplace and given appropriate training so they’re able to act in an emergency.
It is imperative that designated first aiders are given the relevant training - typically via a course.
Health and safety can be expensive for businesses, costing over 15 billion pounds - although a large percentage of this is due to close to 30 million working days being lost per year due to health and safety mishaps.
Ensuring that there are trained first aiders where necessary enables employers to meet the legal first aid requirements in the UK.
The Health and Safety Act of 1981 says that all businesses in the UK should be able to provide staff that have become ill or injured at work with the right personnel, equipment, and facilities - and this includes immediate attention.
Guidelines for First Aid at Work
Although they are simply guidelines, it’s important that employers follow these to keep their staff safe and to protect the integrity of the business.
All businesses should have a suitably stocked first-aid kit, an appointed person who takes change or any first-aid arrangements (for example, ensuring the first-aid kit is always fully stocked, or calling the emergency services when necessary), as well as information about the appointed person or people.
Employees should also partake in training courses so they know what to do in the case of a first aid emergency. A one-day course will typically cover common injuries and illnesses that may occur at work.
There are also three-day courses that can teach employees how to recognise a wider range of illnesses, injuries, and medical conditions.
Employees might also be given extra training - for example, if there are people with epilepsy in the workplace, employees may be trained in dealing with seizures.