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First Aid at Work

First Aid at Work
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First aid is an important part of a safe and healthy work environment. This safety talk looks at what you need to consider when deciding first aid equipment and facilities you need at work, and suggests ways to help you organize your First Aid kits, facilities and first aiders.

What is First Aid?

First aid is the immediate and basic care given to injured or sick people before a doctor, emergency services or health professional takes over the treatment. It focuses on minimising serious injury and preserving life. (eg. Maintaining breathing, circulation, stopping bleeding and stabilising broken bones)

First Aid Requirements for your Workplace

When considering what first aid facilities, equipment and first aiders you need,

consider the nature of the work carried out for your business as well as the

physical locations where the work is completed.

All workers, including those working night shifts or outside of usual working

hours, must be able to access first aid equipment, facilities and first aiders

Nature of work and its risks:

Some workplaces have a greater risk of injury and illness than others due to the nature

of the work. (eg. workers in factories, automotive workshops, construction sites) These

workplaces when an injury occurs would require immediate medical treatment and

require different first aid arrangements than someone in a low risk workplace (office,

retail store) Your Incident Register will provide information regarding previous injuries

and near misses which may be useful in helping you decide what kind of first aid

facilities and equipment you need available.

Physical size and location:

First aid equipment and facilities should be easy for all workers to access, ideally within

minutes in an emergency. Consider:

• The distance between different work areas

• Response times for emergency services

• If you have remote or isolated workers

You may need to provide first aid equipment and facilities in more than one part of your

workplace if:

• The workplace is a long way from emergency services, a medical centre or hospital

• Workers are scattered over a wide area in the workplace

• The workplace has more than one floor on level

Number and composition of workers and other people

Consider the maximum number of workers you could have, including contractors and

volunteer workers. A larger workforce often requires more first aid resources. Other

considerations include:

• Needs of workers (asthma, allergies, disabilities and known health concerns

• Enough first aiders rostered onto each shift

• All workers, including those working outside daylight hours can access first aid kits,

facilities and other equipment.

• Enough first aiders are available to cover annual leave and sick leave

• Other people at work (clients, visitors, couriers, contractors, casual volunteers)

Overlapping Duties

When the work of two or more PCBU’s overlap, they must communicate, consult,

cooperate and coordinate activities to meet their health and safety responsibilities to

workers and others. By consulting with each other they can avoid duplicating their

efforts and prevent any gaps in managing work health and safety risks.

First Aid Kits

A PCBU must provide at least one first aid kit for each workplace and ensure workers

know where it is. Kits should contain basic equipment to attending to injuries. What

is provided in the kit should be based on the particular risks of the work carried

out at the workplace (eg. high risk for eye injuries - include eyewash, eye-pads).

Where there are separate work area’s (departments, floors, buildings, work vehicles)

there should be a first aid kit in each area and the emergency floor plan or site map

displayed to show where the first aid kit is located.

For remote or isolated workers a plan to seek medical assistance must be provided.

If you choose to include pain relief medication in your first aid kits such as

paracetamol, you need to be aware that this medication can make certain people

ill (eg. pregnant woman) The pain relief medication needs to remain in the original

packet and in suitable over the counter quantities. This medication can only be

provided by a medically trained person or self-administrated by the worker.

The kit needs to be clearly labelled “First Aid Kit” and checked on a regular basis to

ensure stocked adequately and is not damaged or contaminated.

Other first aid items to consider are

the need for Automated External

Defibrillator (risk of electrocution/ delay

in ambulance), emergency showers,

eye-wash stations (chemical use), first

aid room, wheelchair.

Image to left - Example of a basic first aid kit


First Aiders

WorkSafe recommends workers are trained by an accredited New Zealand

Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Once the course is completed the worker will be

issued with a first aid certificate which is valid for 2 years. Refresher training is

required after the 2 years to keep the certificate and updated their knowledge.

Need Assistance?

Our team are available if you require assistance with establishing first aid

within your company.

Please contact us if you require any advice, or check out Worksafe’s First Aid Guide.

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