The role of a first aider in the workplace is to provide immediate medical care that could potentially save lives should an emergency occur on the premises. This is why it’s very important that you have trained first aiders on site at all times.
The Health and Safety Regulations 1981 states that employers must provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work – this includes at least one trained first aider.
To assess what type of first aid training your appointed first aiders will need specific to your business, you must conduct a first-aid needs analysis of the premises; however, there is some basic first aid knowledge that all first-aiders should have.
This includes knowing how to implement the recovery position, conduct CPR, apply pressure to wounds to stop bleeding and dress wounds.
But outside of the technical medical knowledge they should have, what is the role of a first aider at work?
Ensuring the safety of themselves and other people around
Though the first priority should be the injured party, the first aider must also be wary of their own safety and any other people around. This would include making sure that the hazard which caused the injury has been removed or made apparent to others, for example, if someone has slipped on a spillage then a warning sign should be put up and the spillage should be mopped up as soon as possible.
It also means that if someone has been sick or is ill, necessary measures should be taken to avoid the potentially contagious sickness from spreading to other parties, including the first aider.
Assessing casualties and situations to decide on the best method of care
A first aider must have the ability to quickly assess an emergency situation and decide on the best course of action when caring for the injured party/parties, such as what type of care they require and whether it needs to assistance of emergency services.
A task such a this requires the first aider to be able to handle high pressure situations and make quick-thinking decisions; this is something that you should keep in mind when choosing your first aider(s).
Keeping calm and reassuring the injured party
To expand on the point made above, a first aider must have a calm demeanour and the ability to keep the injured person, and anyone else around, reassured during an emergency situation.
This would include strong communication skills, confidence, medical knowledge, so that they can provided the injured party with as much information as possible (also, if the first aider seem to know what they are doing then the injured party will feel safe in their hands), and a good rapport with their work colleagues.
Arranging for further medical care should it be needed
Not only must the first aider make the decision as to whether or not further medical care is required, they should take up the responsibility of arranging this for the injured party as soon as possible.
This could include calling an ambulance and communicating with the paramedics once they arrive, taking or arranging them to be taken to a hospital, or following up with the injured person to ensure they have scheduled a doctors appointment if necessary.
Completing any necessary paperwork
Following any incident that results in a workplace injury, it’s a legal requirement to report it to the HSE and make a documented record of said accident in an Accident Book, which every workplace should have on their premises.
Your first aider should be made aware of this and be trained in how to carry out this responsibility to ensure that your business is compliant with their legal health and safety duties.
To assist with the above, we stock a range of First Aid Kits and Supplies for the workplace including Travel Kits and Burns Kits.
Click here to take a look!