Workplace First Aid Basics
September 28, 2016
First-aid knowledge and decisive action can mean the difference between life and death. If someone requires emergency medical attention on the job, co-workers in the immediate vicinity should call 999 and, if trained, apply first aid while waiting for the paramedics.
Although this advice is not meant to substitute formal first-aid training, even a basic knowledge of first aid could help in emergency situations.
When you encounter an emergency in the workplace, do the following:
- Assess the situation without putting yourself in danger.
- Make the area safe.
- Determine the severity of any injuries, attending to unconscious victims first.
- 4. Designate a specific person to send for help.
When checking for a response from a possibly unconscious victim, perform these steps:
- Lightly shake the victim’s shoulders, asking loudly, ‘Are you all right?’
- If you receive no response, open the victim’s airway by tilting the head back.
- Check for normal breathing by listening closely to the victim’s nose and mouth and looking for the rise and fall of the chest.
- Take appropriate action, but only perform rescue breathing or CPR if you are certified.
For more specific emergencies, consider the following:
- Severe bleeding. Apply direct pressure to the wound. Raise and support the injury (unless the bone is broken) while wrapping a tight dressing firmly in place.
- Broken bones and spinal injuries. Do not move victims with a suspected spinal injury unless they are in immediate danger.
- Burns. Cool the burn with cold water until pain subsides. If you suspect the burn is serious, seek medical help. In the event of a chemical burn, remove all contaminated clothing.
- Eye injuries. Wash out the eye with water or a sterile solution to remove foreign objects. Do not attempt to remove anything embedded in the eye.
Always write down any necessary first-aid or emergency response actions you took for employer records.
And remember the most important thing in emergency situations is to remain calm—doing so could help save a life.