Australian businesses are failing at first aid

by Iain Hopkins13 Mar 2013

Research backed by St John Ambulance Australia has painted a dire picture of organisational readiness in responding to first aid.

Figures released today reveal an alarming 87% of Australian businesses are failing at first aid. As confirmed by Safe Work Australia’s newly released First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice, first aid in the workplace is more important than ever.

St John Ambulance Australia CEO, Peter LeCornu, said the new Code will change first aid responsibilities for Australian businesses. “Australian workplaces are in a volatile situation and employers need to act now to reduce the risk to their employees, customers and ultimately their businesses,” he said. “The St John research shows that a serious first aid knowledge gap exists,” LeCornu said.

“It is not just a matter of buying a first aid kit and assuming staff will know what to do. Every employer should be striving for best practice when it comes to first aid and St John recommends conducting an initial first aid risk assessment evaluation to proactively ensure your workplace is compliant,” he added.

Key findings from the study:

  • Only 13% of workplaces know how to keep their employees safe

  • What happens in the first five minutes of an incident occurs can dramatically change the outcome and businesses should thus be prepared to empower their employees to save a life – it’s not just a matter of buying a first aid kit and assuming staff will know what to do

  • Businesses face serious legal risks including fines and prosecutions if they aren’t “first aid ready” and also are putting the safety of their employees and customers at risk
  • Despite being classified as typically “low-risk” the retail industry is the worst performing industry overall, with just six per cent of retail workplaces being “first aid ready”

  • Education was the best performing industry (still only 21.5%) and only 10% of hospitality businesses are first aid ready

  • SMEs are outperforming large businesses in terms of first aid readiness

Safe Work Australia’s new Code is currently being rolled out across most States and Territories. Businesses and employees wanting to find out more about workplace obligations and first aid readiness should contact St John Ambulance Australia

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