Workplace first aid includes a comprehensive training program
No workplace first aid program should be without a comprehensive training program. It isn't enough to hang a first aid kit on the wall and let everyone know it is there. If your trying to figure out how to get a program started or improve the one you have, OSHA offers a guide to best practices of a workplace first aid program
as a helpful resource. In this fourth article on workplace first aid, we focuses on the basic elements of a comprehensive first-aid training program including teaching methods, being prepared, assessment, responding and refresher courses.
Workplace First Aid Teaching Methods
Everyone learns best by hearing, seeing, and doing. Putting the knowledge and skills learned from a comprehensive first aid training program into practice is critical. Reading a book and taking a test does not address what it will be like in real life. Including knowledge and skills practice into training will ensure a well rounded learning experience. Trainees should learn about acute injury and illness as well as the correct response through using visual aids and actually practice those newly learned skills on training partners. As always, a good course book and resource materials will help trainees retain information. Allowing ample time for training and discussion helps promote confidence for all participants. Training should not only emphasize skills training and confidence-building, but also quick response to any first aid situation.
Being Prepared to Respond
Being ready to respond is one of the most important aspects of a comprehensive workplace first aid training program. Not only are we to find ways to prevent accidents from happening but when they do occur, we must be ready to act quickly. The workplace first aid
program should include coordinating a response with the local EMS. They should know you are organized and prepared to respond while they are on their way. Keeping a current list of phone numbers for all local emergency response agencies available for everyone is important. Each first aid responder should also understanding the legal aspects of giving care. Check with your state legislation's Good Samaritan Law which deals with the liability issues that may be of concern. Training to respond also includes knowing the effects of stress, fear and panic and how they affect response performance. Lastly, being prepared to respond includes understanding the importance of practicing universal precautions
for all responses that deal with bodily fluids. This will help prepare the responder to be an effective resource in case of a first aid emergency.
Assessing the scene & victim
Workplace first aid training should teach the responder to be aware of the safety hazards in the environment where the accident has occurred. Running into a place where live electrical wires or other life-threatening hazards still exist will only cause more injuries. Determining how many are injured and who needs care first are all part of assessment. Calling for help and notifying emergency authorities is also included as part of a proper emergency response training procedure. Assessment continues to take place throughout the emergency response. The responder is constantly monitoring the environment to determine whether to move the victim to a safer area, preventing additional injuries.
Responding to Emergencies
A comprehensive first aid training program should be designed to address the needs of that specific worksite. Further training may be needed if or when changes are made to work processes or the environment. Responding to victims always includes calling for help, checking for responsiveness, maintaining an open airway, performing CPR
if necessary, using an AED, recognizing signs of shock, monitoring changes in responsiveness, controlling bleeding and watching for other medical complications including stroke, heart attack, pain, impaled objects, pregnancy complications, seizures and more. This is where professional training from a reputable organization is valuable.
Refresher Courses to maintain skills and knowledge
Workplace first aid training will only remain effective when there are regular refresher courses offered. Annual certification and regular skill and drill runs are recommended. With the support of all workers and management, first aid training add another layer of health and safety to the workplace.