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First aid infection control First aid facilities First aid kit

Introduction

Providing immediate and effective first aid to workers or others who have been injured or become ill at the workplace may reduce the severity of the injury or illness and promote recovery. In some cases it could mean the difference between life and death.

First aid requirements will vary from one workplace to the next, depending on the nature of the work, the type 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 need to be provided ( source: First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice)

A PCBU (person conducting a business or undertaking) must ensure the following in relation to first aid at a workplace:

  • provision of first aid equipment
  • access to first aid equipment by each worker
  • provision of facilities for the administration of first aid
  • provision of first aid training to an adequate number of workers and other persons
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Infection control

First aid responders should take universal precautions to avoid becoming ill and exposing others to illness when handling blood or body substances.

Tips

  • Maintain good hygiene.
  • Use personal protective equipment.
  • Dispose of soiled items appropriately.

Potential harm

Communicable diseases
Infection
Identified Hazards and Controls

Contraction of disease from injured person

Cause

  • Lapse in hygiene.
  • If you are a First Aid Officer, assume the injured or ill person could expose you to an infection and take appropriate precautions.
  • Universal precautions include:
    • hand hygiene
    • use of personal protective equipment
    • appropriate handling and disposal of sharps and waste
    • cleaning techniques and managing spills of blood and body substances.
  • You should also be aware of what actions to take if you have accidental contact with blood or body substances.
  • Establish procedures to avoid workers becoming ill and exposing others to illness when handling blood or body substances.
  • Provide adequate first aid facilities and personal protective equipment.
  • Offer vaccinations for Hepatitis B.

Contraction of disease from contaminated items

Cause

  • Lapse in proper waste disposal.
  • All items that are soiled with blood or body substances should be placed in plastic bags and tied securely.
  • If a First Aid Responder sustains a sharps injury or thinks they are at risk of infection from blood or bodily fluid contamination, they should seek prompt medical advice
  • Have policies and procedures on the safe disposal of contaminated items.
  • Provide the appropriate disposal containers (e.g. sharps disposal bin etc.)

Further information

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First aid facilities

First aid requirements will vary from one workplace to the next, depending on the nature of the work, the type 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 need to be provided.

The risk management approach involves the following four steps (also refer to ‘First aid in workplaces’ code of practice for an example on how to determine first aid requirements):

  • identifying hazards that could result in work-related injury or illness
  • assessing the type, severity and likelihood of injuries and illness
  • providing the appropriate first aid equipment, facilities and training
  • reviewing your first aid requirements on a regular basis or as circumstances change.
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Tips

  • Know the types of injuries that may occur at your workplace.
  • Remain vigilant.
  • Provide access to first aid items.

Potential harm

Delayed treatment
Identified Hazards and Controls

Injury not treated due to inadequate facilities

Cause

  • Nature of potential injuries in workplace have not been identified.
  • Facilities provided are inadequate or poorly maintained.
  • Remain vigilant. Watch out for your own safety and that of others.
  • Don’t take short cuts with work procedures.
  • Inform your supervisor of any hazards or risks you notice.
  • Provide access to first aid services and equipment.

    A person conducting a business or undertaking has the primary duty under the WHS Act to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that workers and other persons are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from the business or undertaking.

    The WHS Regulations place specific obligations on a person conducting a business or undertaking in relation to first aid, including requirements to:

    • provide first aid equipment and ensure each worker at the workplace has access to the equipment
    • ensure access to facilities for the administration of first aid
    • ensure that an adequate number of workers are trained to administer first aid at the workplace or that workers have access to an adequate number of other people who have been trained to administer first aid.

    A person conducting a business or undertaking may not 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 that the workers carry out work.

  • Equipment may also include a first aid room, to afford the patient privacy and to have all the first aid items in an easily accessible location. A first aid room is recommended for:
    • low risk workplaces with 200 workers or more
    • high risk workplaces with 100 workers or more.

    The contents of a first aid room should suit the hazards that are specific to the workplace.

    The location and size of the room should allow easy access and movement of injured people who may need to be supported or moved by stretcher or wheelchair.

    The following items should be provided in the first aid room:

    • a first aid kit appropriate for the workplace
    • hygienic hand cleanser and disposable paper towels
    • an examination couch with waterproof surface and disposable sheets
    • an examination lamp with magnifier
    • a cupboard for storage
    • a container with disposable lining for soiled  waste
    • a container for the safe disposal of sharps
    • a bowl or bucket (minimum two litres capacity)
    • electric power points
    • a chair and a table or desk
    • a telephone and/or emergency call system
    • the names and contact details of first aid  officers and emergency organisations.

    A first aid room should:

    • be located within easy  access to a sink with hot and cold water (where this is not provided in the  room) and toilet facilities
    • offer privacy via  screening or a door
    • be easily accessible  to emergency services (minimum door width of 1 metre for stretcher access)
    • be well lit and  ventilated
    • have an appropriate  floor area (14 square metres as a guide)
    • have an entrance that  is clearly marked with first aid signage.

    Maintaining the first aid room should be allocated  to a trained occupational first aider, except where this room is part of a  health centre or hospital.

  • Make information easily available on who the first aid officers are and their contact details.
  • Implement a system of regularly reviewing and maintaining first aid facilities, equipment and supplies.

Further information

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First aid kit

First aid requirements will vary from one workplace to the next, depending on the nature of the work, the type 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 need to be provided.

Tips

  • First aid contact details easy to find.
  • Regular content check of kits.
  • First aid officers are trained.

Potential harm

Delayed treatment
Identified Hazards and Controls

Unavailable or non-qualified first aid officer

Cause

  • First aid officers not available, non-existent or insufficiently trained.
  • If you are a first aid officer make sure you keep your training up to date.
  • If you are not a first aid officer, know how to locate one.
  • Know the location of the first aid room and the first aid kit.
  • Provide access to first aid services and equipment. Regulation 42 of the WHS Regulations 2011 states that a person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure that an adequate number of workers are trained to administer first aid at the workplace or that workers have access to an adequate number of other people who have been trained to administer first aid.

Lack of knowledge of emergency procedures

Cause

  • Staff not being inducted in safety procedures.
  • No emergency procedures in place in the workplace.
  • If you have a new worker, make sure their induction covers the location of the first aid facilities and what to do if they use the first aid kit.
  • Publish emergency procedures including the location of the first aid kit.
  • Prominently display first aid officer contact number(s).
  • Include first aid induction into new starter training.

Lack of content in first aid kit

Cause

  • Items being used and not reported and replaced.
  • Find out what the procedure is for reporting usage of the first kit.
  • At a minimum, annually audit all first aid kits to check supplies are in stock and in date.
  • See code of practice for First Aid, Appendix C for contents of first aid kit. Code appendex C

Further information