People can get hurt anywhere. For that reason, employers are frequently required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to train at least one employee to provide initial first aid at work if the office isn’t located near a clinic or hospital.
But whether or not your workplace is required to comply with the OSHA regulation, worksite safety should be a priority.
Workplace first aid programs
In 2004, 4.3 million workplace injuries and illnesses occurred in the U.S. 1.3 million of those injuries and illnesses resulted in days away from work. Organizations can reduce injuries and subsequent lost work time by having a first aid program in place – and ideally in writing.
When planning a workplace first aid program, first evaluate which injuries and illnesses could potentially occur. The Bureau of Labor Statistics offers annual data on the number of recordable injuries and illnesses categorized by workplace sector and event or exposure. Similar data is available comparing the percentage of total workplace fatalities with sector and event or exposure.
Acquiring relevant certifications
Based on your workplace hazards, OSHA requirements and any additional requirements in your workplace sector, determine whether or not employees require first aid certification or training. Relevant certifications for workplace first aid may include: CPR, AED training and management of blood borne pathogens.
Providing workplace first aid supplies
In every workplace or worksite, first aid supplies should reflect the types of injuries that may occur. First aid supplies should be stored in an easily accessible location. For a smaller business, one first aid kit may be sufficient; however, for larger businesses, employers should determine the appropriate number.
Informing your workforce
The key to providing the best assistance in an emergency situation is making sure that all employees understand the protocol. Having a workplace first aid program in writing and readily available to all employees ensures that there will be a resource to reference if necessary in an emergency situation. Having emergency phone numbers – such as the local police station and fire department, the nearest hospital or clinic, and poison control among others – in your first aid program is also valuable. And don’t forget to take language barriers into consideration if there are multiple languages spoken in your operation.
Manager Continuous Improvement