Why is first aid at work important? If you operate a small office-based business it might not be obvious at first glance. What's the worst that can happen in an office, after all? As it turns out there have been some dreadful accidents in office settings, which means that every size and type of business needs to take first aid seriously. Here's what you need to know.
HSE guidance says that 'As a minimum, a low-risk workplace such as a small office should have a first-aid box and a person appointed to take charge of first-aid arrangements, such as calling the emergency services if necessary. Employers must provide information about first-aid arrangements to their employees. Workplaces, where there are more significant health and safety risks, are more likely to need a trained first-aider. A first-aid needs assessment will help employers decide what first aid arrangements are appropriate for their workplace'.
The dangers and incidents you might encounter at work
Oftentimes hazards in a workplace like an office are predominately slips and trips and repetitive manual handling activities. Office workers commonly fall over open desk drawers and filing cabinet drawers, electrical wiring, loose carpeting, and objects left in hallways and on walkways. The injuries suffered are only half the story. Bad press and accidents at work claims can cost employers thousands of pounds in compensation and court fees. It's best, of course, to do everything you can to avoid accidents at work altogether, keeping your employees safe whilst protecting your organisation from potential bad press and compensation fees.
Every good business has insurance to cover the financial risk of employee injury. It also helps if you have people on the premises who are qualified to deal with an emergency or situation requiring first aid. How much first-aid provision an employer has to make depends on the circumstances (the hazards and risks) of each workplace. But fast actions and treatment can make all the difference between something not so serious and a really bad injury. We recommend you have at least one person in the business that can manage a first aid situation and one other that has the skills to deliver first aid. Learn more about our workplace first aid courses.
UK stats about accidents at work
According to the HSE's 2018 report about health and safety at work
(https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overall/hssh1718.pdf), 2017-18 saw a total of 144 UK workers killed at work. There were 555,000 non-fatal injuries self-reported over the same time period, and 71,062 employer-reported injuries.
In total the nation lost 3.9 million working days lost thanks to non-fatal workplace injuries during 2017-18. Slips, trips and falls on the same level were the commonest of all at 31%. Handling, lifting and carrying accounted for 21% of injuries and 10% of those injured were struck by 'an object'. 8% of the total fell from a height and 7% were hurt thanks to 'acts of violence'.
How up to date First Aid Training helps businesses manage the risks
The role of a first aider is providing instant, life-saving medical care before the arrival of professional medical help. Having up-to-date workplace first aid training can help both prevent and manage all sorts of potentially disastrous situations.
When someone is properly trained in first aid they're more aware than the average of the risks to employees and can point out things that need to be fixed or changed. If an accident or injury happens they know exactly what to do while waiting for an ambulance to turn up, whether it means giving someone CPR to save their life or stopping serious bleeding before they pass out. It could mean knowing how to put someone into the recovery position, understanding how best to treat a burn or scald, using a defibrillator with confidence, or even keeping someone with a broken limb completely still.
A First Aider is trained to manage incidents and make sure everyone involved is safe. They have the skills needed to assess casualties and find out the nature and cause of their injuries and know how to arrange the right type of medical support. They are trained to prioritise casualties intelligently and make the right kind of notes and observations. They understand how to complete the required paperwork, and will be able to hand-over calmly and professionally when help arrives. If your company doesn't have a designated First Aider yet, it's time to redress the balance.
Follow the link to learn more about our first aid at work training courses or call us on 020 7112 8543 for further assistance.
Read the related article here: Curious... What is a First Aid at Work course?