FIRST AID IN THE WORKPLACE: HOW IMPORTANT IS IT?


I recently attended my first aid training which I get to renew every two years at work. It is mandatory as I work in the health and disability sector now, but more importantly, this is part of our compliance to Health and Safety regulations at work. Government legislation make it compulsory depending on the industry.

It is unfortunate that some organisations often overlook the provision of first aid and CPR training to its employees because of the costs incurred. When in fact, this could be factored in the yearly budget under “staff training.” First aid is not only the responsibility of the Health and Safety Officer at work. In fact, where a majority of the staff working directly with other people need to have it. If budget is tight, the manager may consider appointing a first aid officer within a team or a group of 10 – 15 members to ensure that at least one can look after the others in that team. Training could rotate yearly for each of the members rather than sending them all at one go. It would be more costly if accidents happen in the workplace and not attended to straight away, as costs for hospitalisation or injury might become the burden of the business.

There are so many possible reasons for ensuring employees are equipped with first aid knowledge.

One is immediacy. If accidents happen, and in the absence of a clinic at work, or a nearby hospital, the injuries should be managed immediately by a trained employee while waiting for an ambulance or medical help to arrive.

Second, most workplaces now have the necessary equipment and aids installed in a strategic location in the office. Most offices now have a defibrillator and first aid kits or equipment handy. But if no one is knowledgeable on how to use these aids, or no one is appointed to assist in an emergency, what is the use of having the equipment if it cannot be used properly?

Third, it helps develop employee morale. Not only that employees feel a sense of security knowing that a colleague might be able to assist in an emergency, it will be good for members of the workplace to know what each one’s potential medical issue is so others can assist if required. This brings to employees feeling looked after by their team, and a sense of security may bring increased positive attitudes and higher morale. For the person who receives the training, it will also boost their personal morale, with the thought that they may actually help other people due to the increased confidence provided in the training. Teaching members of the team on how to identify injuries and ways of treating it is as important as being knowledgeable about the business itself.

Fourth, skills and knowledge are transferrable. First Aid and CPR skills once obtained are not limited to workplace conditions. It has some household benefits as well, if the injuries arise from home, or from a public place such as in the event of a calamity, natural disaster, like floods, earthquakes, typhoons, among others. Even schools place due importance to their teaching staff knowing about first aid, CPR and anaphylaxis as a lot of children have allergies, or minor accidents that can happen while at school.

Investing in First Aid training should no longer be an issue, but a must. Refer this matter to your manager if you are unsure if something is already in place, or if you are keen to do the training yourself. Remember the adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” For investing in first aid training will reap its rewards far more than you can imagine.