Every year in June we observe National Safety Month. It’s an opportunity for the National Safety Council (NSC) and thousands of other organizations to raise awareness about the importance of reducing injury and death at work, on the roads and in our homes and communities. Each week has a theme, and this week’s was “Stand Ready to Respond,” highlighting the importance of first aid and CPR training.
Here at Intelex we’re especially interested in promoting workplace safety, which is why we’ve pulled together some critical information for companies who want to be “safety smart,” to help them stand ready to respond and ensure the safety of their employees on the job.
Know the Regulations
Your parents were right when they told you that the rules exist for a reason. Minimum requirements for occupational first aid are typically set out by government regulatory bodies, and the onus is on companies to ensure that they understand these requirements and can confirm that they are operating in compliance.
If your business operates in more than one region or country, it’s also important to keep in mind that the details of first aid regulations can vary geographically. However, it is common for governments to lay out requirements for the provision and maintenance of first aid equipment and facilities, in addition to requirements that ensure there are adequate personnel trained in first aid.
Companies in the United States can review the OSHA standards that relate to medical and first aid on the OSHA website, and are also encouraged to read OSHA’s Best Practices Guide: Fundamentals of a Workplace First-Aid Program.
Empower Employees to Respond
Companies with a strong safety culture empower their workers to be able to look out for one another and provide assistance to a fellow coworker in an emergency. Research from organizations such as St John Ambulance and the Red Cross suggests that many people die unnecessarily due to a lack of first aid. The more people are trained in these life-saving skills, the better!
As an employer, there are many ways that you can make a difference in this area. Encourage your employees to learn first aid skills, integrate first aid knowledge into your regularly occurring safety training, and where possible support your employee’s professional and personal development by facilitating certified first aid training courses!
Prioritize High-Risk First Aid
A company’s ability to quickly and effectively provide assistance to an employee in critical condition can mean the difference between life and death. Unfortunately, paramedics can often take 8-12 minutes to arrive on the scene.
Training your employees to respond in high-risk scenarios, such as cardiac arrest, stroke, choking, and severe bleeding, can significantly affect the outcome of a serious workplace incident. Ensure that your workforce knows who is certified in CPR and First Aid and how to get in touch with them quickly in an emergency.
“Standing Ready to Respond” is an important concept to integrate into your company’s safety culture. As many companies face new challenges associated with an aging workforce, it’s also important to be aware of the fact that different age groups are at risk for different types of workplace health and safety incidents and that recognizing the signs of a first aid emergency such as cardiac arrest or stroke may become even more critical in the coming years.
Visit the National Safety Council’s website for more information on First Aid Training and other workplace safety resources.