Facility First Aid: The Basics and More

First Aid body image

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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First Aid Kits for the Canadian Workplace

Everyday, workers face various hazards in the workplace. Even with all the precautionary measures in place to prevent accidents, you have to accept the fact that they do happen. Are you ready to respond in the event of a medical emergency? Do you have your first aid kit?

First aid kits and the skills of your first aid attendants could mean life or death in extreme situations. It could also mean the difference between a minor injury and major complications. It’s this understanding of how critical occupational first aid kits are, that prompted Canada’s implementation of new regulations called the Workers’ Compensation Act or the Occupational Health & Safety Act.

Details of the regulation differ from province to province but the aim is the same. The law ensures that workers receive immediate care in case of workplace injury or illness. At minimum, the workplace should have:

  • Appropriate first aid kits with complete medical supplies as stated by the province’s regulations
  • Well-trained and competent first aid attendants available to respond at all times
  • Disseminated information on first aid procedures

Other provisions may include:

  • First aid signage
  • Reporting of workplace accidents
  • Emergency transport or ambulance

First aid requirements vary but should be based on the following:

  • Number of employees or workers per shift
  • Types of workplace hazards expected
  • Availability of professional medical facilities (i.e. clinics and hospitals)

Contents of a Basic First Aid Kit

A first aid kit for work differs significantly from what you have at home. According to British Columbia’s Work Safe BC website, a basic workplace first aid kit should be stored in a dry environment and easily accessible to the workers. A waterproof container is recommended.

First Aid Kit Infographic

Check your province’s local requirements for first aid kits, training programs, procedures and more to ensure complete compliance to government regulations. Here’s a list of official government sites that specifiy the regulations for workplace first aid kits.

Canada – Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Alberta – Alberta Human Services

British Columbia – Work Safe BC

Manitoba – Safe Work

New Brunswick – Government of New Brunswick Site

Newfoundland – Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly

Northwest Territories and Nunavut – Worker’s Safety & Compensation Commission

Nova Scotia – Government of Nova Scotia Site

Ontario – Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

Prince Edward Island – Worker’s Compensation Board of PEI

Quebec – Publications Quebec

Saskatchewan – Government of Saskatchewan

Yukon – Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board



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