What is required in providing First Aid and PPE for First Aiders

What is required in Providing First aid and PPE for First Aiders

First Aid Procedures
your Employer should develop and implement first aid procedures to ensure that workers have a clear understanding of first aid in the workplace. Procedures should cover:

The type of first aid Kit in your Workplace and where they are located.
The location of first aid facilities such as first aid rooms.
Who is responsible for the first aid kits and facilities and how frequently they should be checked and maintained.

How to establish and maintain appropriate communication systems including equipment and procedures to ensure rapid emergency communication with first aiders.
The communication equipment and systems to be used when first aid is required, especially for remote and isolated workers.
These procedures should contain information about how:
To locate the communication equipment
Who is responsible for the equipment and how it should be maintained.
The work areas and shifts that have been allocated to each first aider.
These procedures should contain the names and contact details of each first aider.
Arrangements to ensure the first aiders receive appropriate training. Arrangements for ensuring that the workers receive appropriate information, instruction and training in relation to first aid.
How to report injuries and illnesses that may occur in the workplace. These procedures should contain arrangements for recording and storing details and first aid treatment practised and to avoid exposure to blood and body substances.

What to do when a worker or other person is too injured or ill to stay at work, for example if they require assistance with transport to a medical service, home or somewhere else where they can rest and recover.
Access to debriefing or counselling services to support first aiders and workers after a serious workplace incident.

First Aid and PPE

Components of personal protective equipment (PPE)
Components of personal protective equipment (PPE) includes disposable surgical gloves, gowns, shoe covers, face Shields, pocket masks, or CPR masks, Goggles, etc.

Hand Hygiene is very important because a first aider can spread germs as well if he/she does not follow proper procedures to wash our hands. How many and how the components are used is often determined by the regulations or the infection control protocol of the facility in question. Many or most of the items listed above are disposable to avoid carrying infectious materials from one person to another person and to avoid difficult or costly disinfection. We will discuss different types of methods, techniques, and equipment that protect the first aider during the treatment of a casualty or casualties.

Hand cleaners and techniques before handling the casualty
The best way to prevent the spread of disease is to wash hands with soap and warm water before and after every contact with a casualty. Unfortunately, soap and water are not always available. Make sure your medical supplies include a form of waterless hand cleaner.

Disposable surgical gloves
First Aiders must wear disposable gloves when handling a casualty to protect himself/herself against infections or bacteria.

Surgical Gloves have more precise sizing thank normal gloves.(numbered sizing, generally from sizes 5.5 to size 9) they are made to higher specifications. Urical gloves provide comfort and sensitivity while providing protection to the first aider and the casualty during an emergency. Surgical gloves are made from a range of materials, which include latex, polyisoprene, neopren, and nitrile.

Mouthpieces for first aiders
First aiders must use a pocket mask, face shield or cover the mouth with a hanky or a piece of plastic with a hole in it if you do not have a mask available. The purpose and application of these devices are discussed further.

Face shield
Face shield refers to a variety of devices, which is used to protect a medical professional or a first aider during a procedure that might expose him/her to blood or other potentially infectious fluid.

The first aider must use personal protective equipment to be protected from splashing, spraying, or splattering of blood or other potentially infectious materials.

The purpose of a pocket mask
The pocket mask is a small device that can be carried on one’s person. Air is administered to the patient when the first aider exhales through the one- way filter valve. Modern pocket masks have either a built in one-way valve or an attachable, disposable filter to protect the first aider from the casualty’s infectious bodily substances like vomit or blood.

Many masks also have a built-in oxygen intake tube, allowing the administration of 50-60% oxygen. Without being hooked up to an external line, exhaled air from the first aider can still provide can still provide sufficient oxygen to live, up to 16%

A pocket mask is not as effective as a bag valve mask but it has its advantages and is recognised for its portability, when only one first aider is available. Because the bag valve mask requires two hands to operate, one to form the seal and the other to squeeze the bag, the pocket mask allows for both of the first aider’s hand s to be on the casualty's head.

Eye shields
Transmission of infectious diseases can occur by having body fluids penetrate your eyes.
In order to protect your eyes from disease exposure, you should wear protective shields or goggles. It's important that these devices have shields, as the fluid may not always come head on. If you wear glasses, side shields can be added to them.

Full body gowns are not used very often outside of the hospital. There is no good reason for this. Its is just common practise across the country. Put the correct gown in your first aid kit and avoid the need to dispose of your favourite shirt or blouse/shirt.

Biohazard waste
Contaminated waste should be placed in a yellow, biohazardous waste contimaninator to distinguish it from regular garbage. Disposable equipment should be used, where available. When reuseable equipment is used, proper disinfection should be performed after each patient. Waste products should be disposed of appropriately. Containers should be designated for contaminated waste, so that they can receive the proper transport and method of disposal.

Sharp Containers
Contaminated sharps must be deposited into a puncture proof container. These containers protect sanitation workers from injury as well as first aider.

Sharp precautions
All first aider should take precautions to prevent injuries from sharps, which include: broken glass, scalpels, needles, or any object that can puncture the skin and that has potentially been contaminated with blood or body fluid. If possible, avoid the use or handling of sharps.

Avoid potentially risky practises, such as re-sheathing needles, carrying sharps around when not in immediate use, laying sharp near you when finished using it instead of immediately disposing of it, or attempting to retrieve an item from within Sharps container.

As a first aider, you must be aware that there can be legal implications if you do not comply with the relevant legislation. Your actions are very important because incorrect actions may lead to legal cases against you and your employer. There are four main legal considerations relating to first aider namely duty of care negligence, consent and recording.
Duty of care
Duty of care describes the legal duty owed by one person to another to act in a certain way. As a first aider, you have a duty of care towards your casualties to exercise reasonable care and skill in providing first treatment. Why? The duties arise because you have knowledge and skills relevant to a medical emergency situation.

If you choose to provide first aid assistance, you have a duty to use your knowledge and skills in a responsible way. The common law does not impose an automatic duty on first aiders to go to the aid of every casualty the come across. However, first aiders do have a duty to provide first aid assistance if they have voluntarily taken that role. For example, a nominated first aid officer in a workplace owes a duty to care to assist another person in that workplace.

Legislation can also impose a duty on care. For instance, legislation in some states says staff in child care centres must provide medical aid to a child who becomes ill or injured. However the criminal code makes it a criminal offence for a person who is able to do so, to “casually fail” to provide first aid to a person urgently in need whose life may be endangered. The penalty is up to seven years imprisonment.

First aid treatment conditions
Once you start first aid treatment of a casualty you do take on a duty of care to provide first aid with reasonable skill and care and ensure your actions do not increase the risk to the casualty. You should continue to provide first aid once this treatment has begun, until the following applies:

The scene becomes unsafe
Another trained first aider arrives and takes over
Qualified help arrives and takes over
The casualty shows signs of recovery
You become physically unable to continue

Civil liability
Protection from civil liability for an act or omission exists as long as:
The person rendering assistance does so in good faith (That is, acting honestly, without fraud, coluision, or participation in any wrongdoing)
The person’s action was without expectation of reward or payment
The person was not responsible for the injury in relation to which the assistance was provided.

The person’s Capacity to exercise reasonable care and skill was not significantly impaired by being under the influence of alcohol or drugs
The person exercises reasonable care and skill
The person does not impersonate a health care emergency services worker or a police officer or otherwise falsely represents that he or she has skills or expertise in connection with rendering of emergency assistance.

In the unlikely event that a first aider issued in connection with providing first aid assistance,
The courts would look at the circumstances surrounding the event to see if the first aider acted negligently in the way in the way the first aid was provided.

The following factors must all be present for a first aider to be found negligent:
A duty of care existed between the first aider and the casualty.
The first aider did not exercise reasonable care and skill in providing first aid.
The first aider breached the relevant standard of care.
The casualty sustained damage as a result of an act or omission of the first aider.

Considerations of the court
A first aider is not considered a ‘professional’ in most cases. Acourt would look at the first aider’s training and what a prudent and reasonable person would have done with the same level of training in the same circumstances. Because encouraging people to assist others os in the public interest, it is likely the court would only see the first aiders as liable if it can be shown their behaviour was grossly negligent and would take into account all the circumstances of the event. The court may examine issues to establish whether the first aider exercised reasonable care, such as:

What was the first aider’s level of knowledge?
What information was available for the first ider, including:
Was adequate questioning used?
Was a thorough examination of the casualty undertaken?
Were all the facts available taken into account?
Were accepted first aid procedures complied with?
What were the circumstances in which the first aider provided assistance?
For example. A first aider gives cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to a casualty in cardiac arrest. During this CPR, a rib is broken. The resuscitation is successful and after the event, the casualty decides to sue for the rib injury.

Decision of the court
The court would look at the facts and may have decided that:
Is it reasonable to expect a first aider to break a casualty’s rib while delivery CPR to save the casualty's life?
Did the first aider act with reasonable care and skill?

The court may also reason the following:
The first aider was not negligent in providing CPR in this way. The outcome for the casualty of not performing CPR could have been far worse than suffering a broken rib.

Before you start treating a casualty you should ask for and receive the casualty’s consent for your treatment. If the casualty is unconscious or is unable to give consent due to their injuries, you can start treatment. If the casualty is under 18 years old, then you should seek consent from a parent or guardian. If a parent or guardian is not present, you can start treatment.

Yo should not start start treatment if an adult, who seems to be of sound mind and able to make decisions, refuses your offer of treatment. You only gave the casualtie’s consent to treat them for a condition that affects their immediate health. You should not provide help for any ailment that goes beyond your knowledge of first aid.

Isrt aiders should always make notes or fill out casualty report for any event attended, no matter how minor. Proper records will help you to recall the incident if you are ever asked about it at a later stage. The responsibility is greater if you have a role as a first aider in your workplace and you may have reporting obligations under the occupational health and safety legislation. You can Check this with your workplace’s occupational health and safety representative.

Records may be used in a court, to ensure your reports or notes are legible, accurate, factual, contain all relevant information and are based on observations rather than opinions.

Preparing the report
When preparing he report, some general guidelines should be followed:
Use black or blue ink only.
Any Corrections should be crossed out with a single line and initialled. Do not use correction fluid to correct mistakes. Sign and date the record.
The information should be kept confidential, and should only be accessed by authorised people. Who is authorised to access the records, varies from workplace to workplace. In a workplace incident, a copy should go to authorised employer representative for auditing and occupational health and safety monitoring purposes.

What is required in providing First Aid?
First aid requirements will vary from one workplace to the next, depending on the nature of the work, the type of Hazards, the workplace size and location, as well as the number of people at the workplace. These factors must be taken into account when deciding what first aid arrangements need to be provided.

Size and Location of the Workplace
In relation to the size and location of the workplace, you should take into account:
The response times for emergency services.
The distance between different work areas. The distance and injured or ill person has to be transported to receive first aid. First aid facilities should be located at convenient points and in areas where there is significant risk of injury or illness occurring.
A large workplace may require first aid to be available in more than one location if;
Work is being carried out a long distance from emergency facilities. Small numbers of workers are dispersed over a wide area. Access to treatment is difficult. The workplace has more than one floor level.

Location and Storage of the first Aid Kits
In the event of a serious injury or illness, quick access to the kit is vital. First aid kits should be kept in a prominent, accessible location and able to be retrieved promptly. You should position first aid kits close to areas where there is a higher risk of injury or illness. If your workplace occupies several floors in a multi-storey building, at least one kit should be located on each floor. Emergency floor plans displayed in the workplace should include the location of the first aid kits.

People with responsibility for administering first aid (first aiders) should:
Monitor access to the first aid kit and ensuring any items used are replaced as soon as possible after use.
Undertake regular checks of first aid kits to ensure the kit contains a clean and complete set of the required items, as listed in the kit.
Ensure items are in good working order, have not deteriorated and are within expiry dates.
Report any hazardous situations that have resulted in a person requiring first aid. Record first aid treatments.

First aid Signs
Displaying well recognised, standardised first aid signs will assist in easily locating first aid equipment and facilities.

Other first aid equipment
In addition to the first aid kits, you should consider whether any other first aid equipment is necessary to treat the injuries or illness that could occur as a result of a hazard at your workplace. This may include providing an automatic defibrillator to reduce the risk of fatality from heart attacks. Automatic defibrillators should be located in an area that is not exposed to extreme temperatures and is clearly visible and accessible. They should be clearly signed and maintained according to the manufacturer's specifications.

First Aid Facilities
First aid Facilities include first aid rooms and medical centres. If a risk assessment determines that a first aid room or medical centre is needed, a rest area within the workplace may be suitable to assist an injured or ill person.

First aid rooms
You should establish a first aid room at your workplace if a risk assessment indicates that it would be difficult to administer appropriate first aid unless a first aid room is provided. For example, workers who carry out work at workplaces where there is a higher risk of serious injury or illness occurring that would not only require immediate first aid, but also further treatment by an emergency service may benefit from having access to a dedicated first aid room. A first aid room is recommended for low risk workplaces with more than 200 workers, and high risk workplaces with more than 100 workers.

The contents of a first aid room should suit the hazards that are unique to the workplace. The location and size of room should allow easy access and movement of injured people who may need to be supported or moved by a stretcher or wheelchair.

The following items should be provided in the room:
A first aid kit appropriate for the workplace
A sink with hot and cold water supply, soap and disposable paper towels
A couch or bed
A cupboard for storage of dressings, utensils and linen
A container with disposable lining for solid waste
A bowl or Bucket (minimum two litres capacity)
A Container for the safe disposal of sharps
Electric power points
A telephone and/or emergency call system
A portable stretcher, and

The names and Contacts details of first aiders and emergency organisations.

A first aid room should:
Offer privacy via screening or door access
Be suitably located and be easily accessible to emergency services
Be well lit and ventilated
Be readily accessible to toilet facilities
Have an appropriate floor area (14 square meters as a guide)
Have an entrance that is clearly marked with first aid signage

A first aid room and equipment should be the responsibility of a trained first aider, except where this room is part of a medical centre.

Eyewash and shower facilities
Permanently fixed eyewash and shower facilities should be provided in any fixed workplace where there is a risk of serious burns to the eyes or a large area of the face or body.

Examples of such workplaces include:
Glass works including glass etching
Workplaces where chroming processes or other chemical processes are undertaken that involve the use of large quantities of acids or alkaline

Posted date: 16th Aug 2019
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