First aid training for at least some of the employees in any company is a mandatory requirement because the employer has a duty of care which is not being met if adequate first aid provision is not made – and this includes trained personnel as well as equipment. At a very minimum, there should be a trained first-aider in every location on every shift, but in deciding numbers, an employer must take into account absence through illness and holiday entitlement so this minimum should in practice be exceeded by a reasonable margin.
Keep the training up to date
It is amazing how quickly the world of medicine moves on and this applies to first aid in just the same way that it does in more complex medical fields. Although it is rarely dangerous to use an old technique it is nevertheless best to be up to the minute. Also, the memory can play tricks and some of the things you will learn in a first aid at work course will be techniques you may not use for years at a time and it is easy to forget how to do them properly. Top-up courses are essential and every employer should make sure that the designated first aiders attend regularly. One good way of keeping skill levels up is for the trained staff to cascade very basic knowledge down – telling someone else how to do it often makes it stick better in your own head.
It’s not all CPR with Vinnie
The recent TV advert campaign with Vinnie Jones showing the latest technique has made a lot of people keen to learn first aid and this is generally a good thing but there is a more prosaic side and some of it can be quite gruesome. Anyone putting themselves forward to be the designated first aider at work must be prepared to sometimes do the less pleasant things such as deal with someone who is being sick, someone who has cut themselves badly or has a displaced fracture – that can look horrible and can also make the person quite violent with the pain. During the training course for first aid at work you will be shown what to do in some quite extreme situations such as electrocution, drowning and choking but it isn’t wise to pretend these never happen, because they do and as designated person, it is up to you to help – so decide whether you are up to it at the beginning, because it is too late with an emergency at your feet.
Checking the cabinet
Perhaps the most boring bit of being designated first aider is keeping the cabinet stocked, but in some ways it is the most important. There is nothing worse than finding a first aid kit out of something vital – a log of contents and checks made is all part of providing an adequate first aid service and consequences can be severe if, on inspection, it is found to be inadequately stocked.