SA Businesses Overlooking First Aid

SA Businesses Overlooking First Aid

15 December 2014

According to Safe Work SA, around 20,000 South Australians were injured at work in the 12 months to July 2014. Also, many work-related injuries required significant treatment and rehabilitation with traumatic joint, ligament, muscle and tendon injuries common, likewise musculoskeletal and connective tissue diseases, wounds, lacerations and amputations.

In order to afford every worker the protection they deserve, we’re calling on all employers to step up to the issue, find out what they need to know and make sure they comply with having a first aid ready workplace.

There’s no doubt Safe Work SA does a great job spreading the word about workplace safety in the community, but it’s also every employer’s responsibility to prioritise getting it right.

Incidents and injuries can happen in an instant, anywhere and anytime. It’s critical for employers to be prepared to save a life and empower their staff with the confidence that they can to do so as well.

It’s not just a matter of buying a first aid kit and assuming staff will know what to do – it’s about making sure there are enough first aid-trained staff in all workplaces, as well as having appropriate resources including kits, drills and effective procedures in place.

The first aid requirements of any given business or organisation will vary depending on a number of factors such as types of hazards, size and location. Under the Code, workplaces are now expected to undertake a risk assessment to identify their equipment, procedures and number of trained people.

For example, one of the core areas under the First Aid Workplace Code of Practice that must be addressed in all workplace settings is the presence of first aiders on staff.

These are people who have successfully completed a nationally accredited training course, or equivalent, and who are confident and competent to administer first aid. They also need to undertake annual refresher courses in CPR and renew their qualifications every three years. In low-risk workplaces, one first aider is recommended for every 50 workers. For high risk workplaces, it is one to every 25 staff.

For workplaces shared with other businesses, or for tenants in a large building such as a shopping centre, instead of training your own workers you may be able to consult with other business operators and management to ensure that your workers have access to a shared pool of first aiders.

Other things to consider are resources and equipment including fully stocked first aid kits, the right type of kit, clear first aid signage, procedures and drills training covering first aid protocols for all staff about what to do in an emergency.

The First Aid Workplace Code of Practice provides useful information and guidance on how to be compliant. We also encourage businesses to talk directly to a first aid training provider for advice.

The most important first step is a risk assessment that factors in the unique needs of your workplace, a service that St John Ambulance SA provides for many of its industry partners.

Prevention avoids incidents, injuries and ultimately prosecution. Safety at work is not a benefit, it’s an unquestionable right – and being first aid ready is the cornerstone of a safe workplace

In Daily, Adelaide, 15.12.14