First aid is the means by which an initial and immediate medical response is given to a person or persons in need of assistance. In the event of an emergency, knowing how to respond quickly, can greatly reduce the degree of whatever potential risks are involved. In some cases, this properly administered care does mean the difference between life and death.
The First Line of Emergency Medical Treatment
First aid in the workplace must be easily accessible to all those in the facility. It should not take more than a few minutes before first aid can be administered. As such, first aid stations need to be situated in more than one area, especially for large locations or workspaces that include multiple floors.
Minimum Requirements. Regulations and standards for first aid in the workplace often vary by province or territory. These also depend on other factors such as the field of industry and the size of the facility. At the very minimum, regulations require a first aid kit and trained employee for every workplace in every jurisdiction in Canada.
In general, employees must be instructed on proper emergency protocols for emergencies. With regards to first aid, they should be trained in:
- Identifying where first aid stations/kits are located
- Identifying an emergency list of first aid responders and other relevant personnel. This should include prioritization of who to call first, as well as location and contact numbers of personnel
- Familiarity of a list of nearest medical facilities (name, address, operating hours and telephone numbers).
- Following proper first aid procedures during actual situations. This includes identifying the types of injuries that should be reported, who to call for assistance, and accompanying the victim until first aid arrives.
Benefits. Here are a few reasons why first aid is important:
- Saves lives. With proper first aid training, immediate medical action can be provided to those in need. This reduces the number of potential casualties while increasing the number of lives that can be saved.
- Contains hazards. Though first aid is meant to administer temporary treatment, it is also important to prevent hazardous conditions from deteriorating. Dangers and transmittable diseases can be contained well enough by following the proper first aid procedures until professional help arrives.
- Increases safety. Since prevention is an integral part of first aid, the knowledge and availability of first aid supplies promotes an increased safety awareness and well-being among people. This keeps them more alert and safe in their immediate surroundings.
- Relieves pain and other symptoms. Some injuries require simple remedies, like generic prescriptions or applying ice packs. In these instances, going to the emergency room is not necessary to alleviate the symptoms. With simple procedures, first aid alleviates pain and discomfort, at least temporarily.
- Provides a sense of security. First aid training and supplies help increase reliability and confidence among employees. This in turn promotes a healthy and efficient work environment.
At the end of the day, first aid training and supplies are useful not only to employees and employers, but to their immediate community as well. So let’s remain safe and ensure that our facilities have properly trained and well equipped staff.
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