In its most basic form, First aid is the immediate basic medical attention given to a person with an injury or illness, in a home environment, workplace or public space. First aid is normally performed until the next level of care (Paramedics, emergency staff or doctor) is present.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act states that employers should do whatever it takes to prove a safe working environment for all employees and having a first aid box available is the easiest step to take.A qualified First Aider is also required to be on duty at all times, to deal with any emergencies and to make sure the contents of the box are refilled and not past their expiry date. The location of the box should be indicated with signage and the name of the first aider should be displayed on the outside of the box.
According to Law, the basic contents of the first aid box should include:
- An Antiseptic Wound Cleaner
- Swabs For Cleaning Wounds
- Cotton Wool For Padding
- Sterile Gauze
- A Pair Of Forceps
- A Pair Of Scissors
- A Set Of Safety Pins
- Triangular Bandages
- Roller Bandages (75mm x 5m)
- Roller Bandages ( 100mm x 5m)
- A Roll Of Elastic Adhesive
- Non-Allergenic Adhesive Strips
- A Packet Of Adhesive Dressing Strips
- First Aid Dressing (75mm x 100mm)
- First Aid Dressing (150mm x 200mm)
- Straight Splints
- Medium Latex Gloves
- Large Latex Gloves
- CPR Mouthpiece Or Similar Device
Any other items that are specific to the hazards within your company should be in the box too. For example, the Hazardous Chemical Regulations expects employers to have eye wash cups or bottles along with their first aid box should eyes need to be cleaned. Other Acts or Regulations expect employers to add Masks, Antihistamine Ointment, Ice Packs, Spillage Kits and Burn Shields, especially in a company where hazardous chemicals and fires are a part of the hazards.
It is also the responsibility of the first aider to clean their first aid box after an emergency situation, to make sure that the contents are clean and sterile. First Aiders should be encouraged to be hygiene conscious and dispose of any stained contents after they were used on the patient or to clean up the area of the incident. The last thing an injured employee needs is an illness or infections caused by a dirty first aid box.
Education and training is key to making sure your company has sufficient staff who can act efficiently during an emergency. MAKROSAFE offers a wide range of workshops and training to make sure your company remains health and safety compliant according to South African Laws and Regulations.
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