First aid: Make sure your boxes are ticked

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First aid: Make sure your boxes are tickedGiven that every workplace situation is different, it is up to HR to determine the acceptable ratio of first aid officers to employees, and they should consider a number of criteria in the risk assessment phase.

The relevant workplace health and safety legislation prescribes that employers must provide, so far as is reasonably practicable, a safe working environment and adequate facilities for the welfare of their employees. On the question of how many trained first aid staff to have on site, HR must measure the risks against the specific needs of an individual workplace.

According to a Red Cross work safe guide, the first step may be to assess the likelihood that your workplace will require the assistance of a first aid officer.  As a guide only, the Red Cross states:

In low-risk workplaces (eg office):
- one first aid officer for 10 to 50 employees
- two first aid officers for 51 to 100 employees
- an additional first aid officer for every additional 100 employees.

In higher-risk workplaces (eg factory):
- one first aid officer for up to 25 employees
- two first aid officers for 26 to 50 employees
- an additional first aid officer for every additional 50 employees

The St John Ambulance service states that the most popular course undertaken for workplace purposes is the Apply First Aid certificate, and notably this was formerly known as Senior First Aid. The certificate can be achieved after undertaking 16 hours of workshop training and is valid for three years. After that, recertification can then be gained by a further 8 hours of workshop training. The price for a standard 2-day Apply First Aid course is $190, and a 1-day recertification course costs $160.

Employee awareness

Employees must be given information and instructions on first aid in the workplace, including:
 

  • the location of first aid kits
  • the names and work location of trained first aid officers
  • procedures to be followed when first aid or further assistance is required
  • if there is a change in the location of first aid facilities (eg first aid room)
  • if there are any changes in the names, locations or contact details of first aid officers

 

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  • Kevin Jones on 14/03/2012 12:53:14 PM

    I think it would have been more appropriate to refer to the various OHS Codes of Practice for workplace first aid as these determine the assessment criteria to be used.
    Safe Work Australia released a draft code on workplace first aid last year for public comment.

  • Russell on 9/04/2012 12:22:34 PM

    I tend to find it annoying when I read articles where the references taken have been from St J or Red Cross. There are many great groups who teach first aid, several shonks as well, but then it does depend on the organisation and the instructor. Anyway back to point, The person who put forward the figures on quantity of first aiders to employees really should consider the scenario where a first aider is provided in a small workplace say 20 people, according to the above 1 first aider should be sufficient, now try to argue that with worksafe when the person injured just happens to be the first aider. The way I learnt was that you take the worst possible likely scenario and work on correcting that, if you have a staff of 20, 2 people minimum to be trained, no one stays back unless one of the first aiders is available and they concentrate on fixing the first aid facilities whilst hte other person works, that way if an accident occurs after hours you have a first aider handy and secondly it is often the only time the kits are checked properly:)

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