Reexamine Your Workplace, Is It Ready for an Emergency?
It is an obligation for all companies and enterprises to provide their employees a safe and healthy workplace that is equitably free of work-related hazards. It is, however, improbable to assume that accidents will not happen.
As such, companies are mandated to provide medical and first aid personnel and supplies matching the threats of the workplace. The details of medical and first aid program are reliant on the conditions of each individual workplace.
Providing an instant and effective first aid to workers or others who have been injured or become ill is a strict requirement. The WHS Act governs all scope of first aid and emergency measures by providing a comprehensive guideline.
First Aid Reexamined
By strict definition, first aid is a course of action that alleviates the severity of the injury or illness and stimulates recovery. In some cases, it could mean the difference between life and death. It is the immediate treatment or care given to anyone who is a victim of any untoward circumstance until a more advanced care is provided.
A first aider is someone who has successfully completed a competent and accredited training course. The competencies provided to them are essential to carrying out first aid. First aid facilities consist of first aid rooms, health centres, potable water supplies, and other facilities needed for administering first aid.
Identifying the Level of Hazard in Your Work Area
First aid equipment comprises of first aid kits and other tools used to treat injuries and illnesses. The contents therein are directly proportionate to the kind and nature of work. A high-risk workplace may require additional items relative to the possible hazards of the work environment.
Businesses engaged in a high-risk environment are those whose workers are exposed to threats that could result in serious injury or illness.
Conversely, a low-risk workplace can be a typical office or shop where there is a minimum of exposure to hazards. The possibility of work-related injuries is only minor in nature.
How to Assess If Your Workplace Is at a High-Risk Level
Employees under the following circumstances are considered working under high-risk conditions:
- Using perilous machinery or equipment like in a mobile plant. Work that includes the use of power presses, lathes, chainsaws, etc.
- Using hazardous substances as in chemical manufacture, working in laboratories, horticulture, petrol stations, and food manufacturing.
- Construction work or stevedoring wherein the risk of falls and accidents are relatively high.
- Working in confined spaces, demolition, welding, abrasive blasting, electrical work, etc. where the form of work in itself is hazardous.
- Exposure to the danger of physical violence like cash handling or working alone at night. There are also jobs that require interaction with physically aggressive customers.
- Exposure to temperature extremes.
Who Is Responsible for First Aid?
First aid is a shared responsibility. Both the employer and employees have the primary duty under the WHS Act to ensure, within due diligence and justifiable circumstances, that the personnel including guests, and customers are covered.
The WHS Regulations set forth explicit obligations on a person conducting a business or undertaking in relation to first aid, including requirements to:
- Make first aid equipment available and ensure each worker at the workplace has access to it.
- Provide easy access to facilities for the first aid administration.
- Taking into account the appropriate number of workers who are trained to administer first aid at the workplace.
Officers, such as company directors, have a responsibility to implement due diligence to ensure that the business or undertaking is compliant with the WHS Act and Regulations. This includes taking reasonable steps to ensure that a business or undertaking has and uses suitable means and procedures to eradicate or reduce risks to health and safety.
Workers have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and must not undesirably affect the health and safety of others. Employees must conform to any given instruction and collaborate with any reasonable policy or procedure relating to health and safety at the workplace. It is critical that the employees act accordingly and report accidents and emergencies to the proper channels at the soonest possible time.
What Are the Requirements in Providing First Aid?
First aid requirements are dependent on the following:
- Nature of the work
- The kind of threats and hazards
- Workplace size and location
- Number of people at the workplace
These factors must be fully considered when deciding what first aid arrangements are needed. Your risk management and the emergency plan must be tailored to match the conditions of your workplace. Model Code of Practice provides a guidance on the number of first aid kits and its contents relative to your workplace requirement.
This Code provides information on using a risk management approach to tailor first aid that suits the circumstances of your workplace, while also providing guidance on the number of first aid kits, their contents and the number of trained first aiders that are appropriate for some types of workplaces.
Controlling risks at the workplace must be in accordance with a record of injuries, illnesses, and even incidents that almost happened. These are valuable information will be useful in making a comprehensive first aid plan.
In order to be properly protected, everyone within a company needs to know where all the first aid kits are. Well positioned visual guides and how-to posters can increase the first aid awareness within a company. Therefore, make sure that your workplace is safe and that you put in all the effort need to keep it that way.
If your organisation needs assistance in reviewing your emergency response procedures, MiSAFE Solutions has a number of consulting options ranging from audits, emergency systems development, implementation and review, to full retainer partnership arrangements.