Having the right medical stores in your workplace can and has saved lives. This is why SafeWork have developed a Code of Practice for First aid in the workplace..
Duty holders who have a role in first aid include:
A PCBU must ensure:
A PCBU may net need to provide first aid equipment or facilities if these are already provided by another duty holder at the workplace and they are adequate and easily accessible at the times the workers carry out work.
First aid requirements will vary from one workplace to the next depending on the nature of the work, the types of hazards, the workplace size and location as well as the number of people at the workplace. These factors must be taken into account when deciding what first aid arrangements are provided.
Certain work environments have greater risks of injury and illness due to the nature of work being carried out and the nature of the hazards in the workplace.
The table below identifies injuries associated with common workplace hazards that may require first aid.
|Manual tasks||Overexertion can cause muscular strain|
|Working at heights or on uneven or slippery surfaces||Slips, trips and falls can cause fractures, bruises, lacerations, dislocations, concussion|
|Electricity||Potential ignition source – could cause injuries from fire. Exposure to live electrical wires can cause shock, burns or cardiac arrest|
|Machinery and equipment||Being hit by moving vehicles or being caught by moving parts of machinery can cause fractures, amputation, bruises, lacerations, dislocations|
|Hazardous chemicals||Toxic or corrosive chemicals may be inhaled or may contact skin or eyes causing poisoning, chemical burns, irritation. Flammable chemicals could result in injuries from fire or explosion.|
|Extreme temperatures||Hot surfaces and materials can cause burns Working in extreme heat can cause heat-related illness. It can also increase the risks by reducing concentration and increasing fatigue and chemical uptake into the body. Exposure to extreme cold can cause hypothermia and frostbite.|
|Radiation||Welding arc flashes, ionising radiation and lasers can cause burns. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause skin cancers and eye damage.|
|Violence||Behaviours including intimidation and physical assault can cause both physical and psychological injuries|
|Biological||Infection, allergic reactions|
|Animals||Bites, stings, kicks, crush injuries, scratches|
Records of injuries, illnesses, “near miss” incidents and other information will be useful when making decisions about first aid requirements.
You should take into account:
A large workplace may require first aid to be available in more than one location if:
There are other factors to consider but go beyond the scope of this newsletter. For further information please contact our office.
All workers must be able to access a first aid kit. This requires at least one first aid kit to be provided at the workplace.
The first aid kit should provide basic equipment for administering first aid for injuries including:
The contents of your first aid kit should be based on a risk assessment which may identify higher risk levels for certain operations.
In the event of a serious injury or illness quick access to the first aid kit is vital. First aid kits should be kept in a prominent, accessible location where they can be retrieved quickly.
Restocking and maintaining kits
A person in the workplace, usually a first aider should be nominated to maintain the first aid kit and should:
Number one recommendation to check your first aid kit…you do have one don’t you? The best recommendation we can give is that if you’re unsure about what you need go to a first aid supplier who can then advise you about your requirements.
They can then either upgrade your existing kit or provide you with one that meets your specific requirements.
If you need further information on workplace medical requirements please feel free to contact our office or if you would like an example of contents for first aid kits in the workplace please contact our office.