First aiders are part of a small group of everyday heroes that often go unacknowledged in our daily lives. It’s usually only when disaster strikes that lead to casualties, sparking panic among people, that they take on leadership roles and shine.
The importance of having first aiders in the workplace
At work, a first aider has a wide range of duties and responsibilities that make them essential to any organisation. The specific responsibilities of the first aider vary according to the type of work and risk level of the workplace.
For instance, multiple trained first aiders are usually required for work-at-height type of jobs, and they’re trained to spot potential hazards that are unique to the work environment. Even in low-risk workplaces, knowing first aid is very practical. Companies may wish to offer all their employees the chance to do a shorter version of a first aid course by offering first aid express training courses to enhance workplace safety while saving valuable time.
Responsibilities of a first aider
The specific responsibilities of a first aider are often situational. In many cases, however, the standard duties remain the same:
- Assess casualties and identify the nature and cause of injuries
- Identify hazards and risks to employees
- Promote recovery in affected individuals
- Make clear notes and observations of casualties
- Manage an incident and ensure the continuing safety of all individuals at work
- Calmly reassure the people, including casualties
- Control or prevent cross-contamination of infections
- Call for appropriate assistance
- Apply proper first aid before professional medical help arrives
- Check that first aid kits are well supplied
- Guarantee that all tools and equipment are maintained and in working condition
Many companies are recommended to have at least one first aider for every 50 workers in low-risk work environments. For larger workplaces that involve dangerous work, one first aider is appropriate for every 25 workers and their duties are usually more complex.
In addition to the responsibilities mentioned above, a first aider should also possess specific qualities that make them reliable in the workplace, such as being able to:
- Understand his or her role as a first responder should incidents or accidents occur
- Take on leadership roles to increase the effectiveness of emergency procedures when needed
- Perform first aid processes and techniques calmly
- Calm down affected individuals and reduce panic during emergencies
- Physically perform CPR or apply emergency first aid treatment
Being a first aider doesn’t mean you should put your life at risk. Quite the contrary, it’s important for you to watch out for your well-being, too. This way, you can help more people.
What are the responsibilities of the company?
The employer also has a legal responsibility to provide first aid to all workers. This includes making sure there are enough first aiders, that training is updated, and that first aid kits are well-stocked and readily available.
In some cases, a first aid room should also be provided, as well as a full-time nurse. For high-risk workplaces with more than 100 workers, a first aid room is vital. Low-risk workplaces may have a first aid room if they have more than 200 workers.
All first aid procedures should ideally be tailored to the specific risks of the workplace, too. This requires a thorough risk assessment of the work environment.
Why become a first aider at your workplace?
Emergencies happen when we least expect them. Because many people spend a third of their entire day at work, it’s important for a company to have one or more trained individuals who can increase work safety and know how to handle medical emergencies.
Choosing to get first aid training doesn’t just make you a vital part of your company’s safety procedure, but it also improves the level of your self-care. And most importantly, you learn practical knowledge that’s designed to save lives, which is valuable in any situation both inside and outside the workplace.