Accidents can happen on the job without warning.
No matter the type of workplace, first aid emergencies are a reality and require a level of preparedness to handle them quickly and effectively to prevent further injury.
As a facility manager, you may be wondering about your obligations for providing first aid in your facility.
Here is a quick guide to help answer some of the questions you may have…
What are the Laws around First Aid Requirements in the Workplace?
Under Safe Work Australia’s Work Health and Safety Regulations (November 2016), a code of practice has been developed for providing first aid in the workplace.
These guidelines state that it is your duty to provide first aid care at your workplace and outlines your legal obligations as a business.
As a facility manager, you can help meet these obligations by ensuring workers have access to:
- First aid equipment in the workplace
- First aid facilities for the administration of first aid
- Trained first aiders on the job
Do I Need to do a First Aid Risk Assessment?
It is important that you assess the hazards in the workplace.
Knowing the potential risks can help you consider the types of first aid arrangements you will need to have in place as well as prevention tactics to minimize these hazards.
Here are a few questions to consider when carrying out a risk assessment to help you determine what types of first aid equipment, facilities, and training are needed:
- Is there a possibility of injuries? If so, what kind of injuries and how serious might they be?
- Are there other safety issues to be concerned with?
- What types of injuries, illnesses, or ‘near miss’ accidents occurred in the past at the facility?
- What is the usual number of people present at the facility? Does this include all workers, contractors, volunteers, and visitors?
- Are you close to emergency services if needed and what are their response times?
- What injuries are common and have been reported in facilities similar to yours?
- What do other facilities have for first aid equipment, facilities, and training?
- Am I Required to Have First Aid Attendants on Staff?
Taking into account the results of the first aid risk assessment, the number of first aiders on site is dictated by the nature of the work environment and the number of people at the workplace at any one time.
As a general guideline for low-risk workplaces, there should be a trained first aider for every 50 workers. In contrast, high-risk work environments like a construction site require at least two first aiders for every 25 workers.
It is a requirement that all designated first aiders hold a current first aid certificate from a registered first aid training organization, and are equipped with the skills needed to manage injuries and emergencies effectively, and if necessary until emergency services arrive.
Is a First Aid Room Required?
This depends on the number of workers in the workplace. Low-risk workplaces should have a designated first aid room when there is more than 200 workers on staff. High-risk environments require one when there is more than 100 workers.
A staff of less than 200 still requires access to first aid equipment in the workplace and a suitable place to carry out the first aid if needed.
If a first aid room is required, it must fulfill basic requirements of a first aid room such as:
- Enough room to provide the necessary medical interventions
- Brightly lit and ventilated
- Accessible to all – walking injured, stretcher, or wheelchair
- Access to washrooms
- Designated for first aid only
- Managed by the first aid attendant
- For more information, please see First Aid in the Workplace or Safe Work Australia.