Everyday, injuries occur at the workplace, even with the best accident prevention programs in place. Knowing basic first aid procedures in case of an emergency can go a long way. It is often the responsibilities of a Certified First Aid Provider to aid in the stabilization of an injured or ill co-worker on the job site, but when one is not available, it is the responsibilities of ordinary people to act accordingly.
What is a Certified First Aid Provider? 29 CFR 1910.151(b) states “In the absence of an infirmary, clinic or hospital in the near proximity of the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid.” CFAPs are certified and trained in various levels in CPR and first aid.
First Aid Basics
Open Wounds – for small wounds it is best to place a sterile gauze pad firmly on the wound while wearing latex gloves and hold for at least 5 minutes. When bleeding subsides, wrap the wound and gauze using a conforming wrap. If bleeding does not stop, dial 9-1-1.
Heat and Electrical Burns – first use water to stop any burning of the skin. If the skin is not broken apply a cold pack or bag of cold water (not ice) to the area until the pain has subsided. If the burn has broken the skin, quickly cover the wound with a clean, dry cloth and dial 9-1-1. DO NOT attempt to clean the wound and DO NOT apply ointments or creams.
Chemical and Compressed Gas Burns – immediately use a faucet or emergency shower to clean away any chemicals for a minimum of 15 minutes. Then, loosely cover the wound with a dry cloth or burn dressing and dial 9-1-1 for immediate medial attention.
Shock – symptoms of shock include irregular breathing, chills, weak pulse, nausea, cold sweat and pale lips. Shock is potentially life threatening and should be treated with care. If you notice someone going into shock, dial 9-1-1 immediately. Then, lay the person on their back and do not move them. Raise the legs and feet with a pillow and keep the person warm with a blanket. DO NOT attempt to give the person anything to eat or drink.
Be Cautious of Infectious Diseases
When providing first aid, bloodborne and airborn pathogens are most commonly transmitted through touching, breathing and biting. Follow these guidelines to help reduce transmission of bodily fluids when administering first aid.
- DO NOT eat, drink or touch your mouth, nose or eyes.
- DO NOT touch objects that may be soiled with blood.
- Make sure you cover any open wounds and scrapes you may have with the proper protective clothing.
- Wash your hands with soap and water immediately following the first aid process.
- Use a clean up kit for properly cleaning bodily fluids.
- Properly dispose of all used first aid supplies in a hazardous waste bag.
and remember, always keep your First Aid Kit stocked and ready for use.