Duty to Provide First Aid
Whether we like it or not, as employers, we have a duty to provide first aid facilities for our workplaces. This is outlined under Section 13 of the Health and Safety at Work (General Risk and Workplace Management) Regulations 2016.
In essence we need to ensure our workers have access to first aid facilities. The legislation isn't very prescriptive about what should be included but they very clearly state we need to take into account "relevant matters".
So what does this mean?
There are four things we need to consider when determining what first aid facilities are required:
- the size and location of your workplace/s
- the number of workers at each location and their characteristics
- the type of work your workers do, and the types of hazards that are present
- the views of your workers
WorkSafe tells us, that when we are trying to determine what is adequate for our workplaces, we also need to take into account the following:
- how many workers are at each location (this includes vehicles in many instances) at any point in time?
- what are the characteristics of your workforce that could impact first aid requirements (e.g. age, pre-existing conditions, fitness levels, health etc)?
- what hazards are present in your workplace and what are the injuries that could be reasonably expected to occur? (e.g. cuts and bruises, burns, severed limbs, crush injuries, sprains and strains etc)
- where to locate your first aid facilities so they are easily accessible at all times
- what additional equipment is appropriate (e.g. defibrillators where there is an electrocution risk or large numbers of the general public)
- what do your workers have to say? They are the ones doing the work and are therefore in the best place to be able to offer insights into likely or potential injuries
- how far are your workers from outside assistance? For example, how far away is the nearest ambulance, hospital or medical assistance?
- what are your hours of work?
- how many locations does your workplace have?
You may find WorkSafe's First Aid Risk Assessment and/ore their needs assessment templates in helping to determine your workplace's first aid needs. For more information about fulfilling your duty, refer to WorkSafe's guidance document for First Aid in Workplaces as well as their Fact Sheet or talk to us.
WorkSafe recommends the following minimum contents for First Aid Kits. These contents assume a low risk organisation without specific risks such as chemicals, dust, eye injuries, etc.
The requirement for First Aid Facilities in Vehicles
Vehicles are considered a workplace where they are being used for work purposes. If your workers are spending large amounts of their time in their vehicles (e.g. truck drivers, crane operators, plant operators) and/or your vehicles are being used for field service work there is a high likelihood they should be fitted with first aid equipment.
Remote workers need special consideration when it comes to first aid facilities. Employers need to consider these workers may be working alone and/or be a significant distance from medical help so they need to have access to supplies that will enable them to manage their injuries until help arrives, or they can get themselves to assistance.
Talk to us about how we can assist you with working out the first aid needs of your workplace