St John Targeting Workforce First Aid Readiness

St John Targeting Workforce First Aid Readiness

27 October 2014

South Australian businesses and employers could be putting employees and customers at risk by failing to meet their first aid responsibilities, says St. John Ambulance SA (STJSA).

At the start of Safe Work Week 2014, the not-for-profit organisation and the state’s leading provider of first aid services and training has joined with SafeWork SA to highlight the importance of workforces being ready to save lives in a first aid incident or emergency.

STJSA Chief Executive Officer, Sharyn Mitten said that businesses need to meet some new requirements for first aid in the workplace following the state’s adoption of nationally harmonised work health and safety laws in January 2013.

“It’s timely to remind employers about their legal responsibilities to understand and comply with the laws and appreciate that the First Aid Workplace Code of Practice provides useful information on how to do that,” she said.

SafeWork SA Executive Director, Bryan Russell said 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.

“Around 20 000 South Australians were injured at work in the 12-months to July 2014 with community services, manufacturing, wholesale, retail and the construction industry continuing to account for the most workplace incidents and injuries as well as the most serious,” he said.

Mr Russell explained that common causes of workplace injuries include falls from heights, people being hit by moving objects, vehicle incidents, falls and electrical shocks.

STJSA recommends businesses conduct a tailored first aid risk assessment evaluation to determine whether their workplace is compliant, or discuss their compliance expectations directly with a first aid training provider.

Ms Mitten said that first aid requirements of any given business or organisation varied, depending on a number of factors such as types of hazards, size and location.

“It is not just a matter of buying a first aid kit and assuming staff will know what to do, it is about ensuring there are enough first aid trained staff in all workplaces, as well as appropriate resources including kits, drills and effective procedures in place.”

“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 to do so as well.”

“The most important first step is a risk assessment that factors in the unique needs of your workplace,” she said.

The First Aid Workplace Code of Practice emphasises three core areas that must be addressed in all workplace settings:

1. The presence of accredited first aiders on staff who also undertake annual refresher courses in CPR and renew 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.

2. Workplace resources and equipment, including fully stocked first aid kits and clear first aid signage. First aid rooms could also be necessary, e.g in high risk workplace and those far from emergency services

3. Procedures and drills training covering first aid protcols for all workers and what to do in an emergency.