First aid risk assessment guideline
This guideline assists with the undertaking of a first aid risk assessment in the workplace.
A first aid risk assessment should be carried out to assist in the determination of the appropriate first aid facilities and the number of trained first aiders for a specific area.
By completing the First Aid Risk Assessment form, the recommendations for appropriate first aid facilities/ resources can be determined. Below are some guidelines to assist with the interpretation of the risk assessment form and to assist in completing it.
Distance and time to nearest medical center/hospital
If the time it takes to transport an injured person to a medical centre exceeds 30 minutes, a greater number of appropriately trained first aiders may be needed. This will depend on the hazards and associated level of risk at the workplace.
The time taken to reach the nearest hospital is very important. If the workplace is particularly remote additional first aid facilities and services are likely to be needed. If adverse weather conditions or poor roads are likely to be a problem planning should be completed for aerial evacuation of sick and injured when determining first aid requirements.
Location of existing first aid kits
Are the current number of first aid kits and their locations suitable? Consider if the first aider will be required to leave the building or the floor to reach the first aid kits. Are the kits located where they are easily accessible and close to hazardous work areas?
Incidents over last 12 months
Reviewing incident data can help identify problem areas and if specific first aid equipment is required (eg for burns). Incident data will not provide information on all hazards present in the workplace and shouldn’t be used as the only method of identifying potential risks.
There are a number of hazards which may be present in work places. The following list should be used for consideration only, it is not exhaustive:
- Manual handling (pushing, pulling, carrying, restraining)
- Plant and equipment (potential crushing, entanglement, cutting, striking, shearing, friction)
- Electrical hazards
- Chemical exposure
- Slip, trips & falls (uneven or slippery working surfaces)
- Working at heights
- Mobile equipment (forklifts, hand trucks, trolleys etc)
- Biological hazards
- High / low temperatures
Specific first aid requirements
All RMIT First aid kits are stocked with standard contents by first aid coordinators. The material safety data sheet of materials in your area may specify that additional first aid equipment should be available where the material is used. The contents of all standard first aid kits include:
- basic first aid notes
- disposable gloves
- resuscitation mask
- individually wrapped sterile adhesive dressings
- sterile eye pads (packet)
- sterile coverings for serious wounds
- triangular bandages
- safety pins
- small sterile un-medicated wound dressings
- medium sterile un-medicated wound dressings
- large sterile un-medicated wound dressings
- non-allergenic tape
- rubber thread or crepe bandage
- suitable book for recording details of first aid provided
- sterile saline solution
- plastic bags for disposal
Drugs for example like Panadol should not be stored in the kits or administered by first aiders.
Number of first aiders required
There is no simple formula for determining the number of first aiders required. The number of first aiders required depends on the outcome of the risk assessment, with high risk workplaces requiring more first aiders. According to the Victorian Compliance code - First aid in the workplace, a rough guide is one first aider for 10 to 50 employees for a low-risk workplace or one first aider for up to 25 employees for a higher-risk workplace.
Don’t forget to look at the hours the first aiders are on site. If your area operates outside of normal business hours try and make sure there are first aiders available at these times. Ideally first aiders should be those that are in the area and available all the time.
Level of training required
The minimum acceptable training for first aiders for workplaces is the senior first aid certificate (also referred to as level 2) or its competency based equivalent HLTFA301B Apply First Aid. The senior first aid certificate requires the completion of a 2 day course.
The course content includes:
- chain of survival
- assessing the situation
- signs of life
- performing CPR
- demonstrate use of an automated external defibrillator
- care of the unconscious person
- special techniques for children and Infants
- CPR in special circumstances
- breathing emergencies including choking and asthma
- cardiac emergencies
- severe allergic reaction
- bleeding and wound care
- burns and scalds
- extremes of heat and cold
- altered conscious states
- bites and stings
- musculoskeletal injuries
- infection control
- reporting procedures
There are no prerequisites for this course. Current industry standard for this course is to be updated every 3 years with the CPR component being updated every 12 months.
For those workplaces with a complex range of health and safety hazards, first aid officers may need to complete occupational first aid training (also referred to as a level 3 first aid qualification) or its competency based equivalent HLTFA402B Apply Advanced First Aid. Occupational first aid is a four day course that builds upon the skills gained during the course in senior first aid (Level 2). The course content includes:
- apply legislation in the workplace
- manage safety in the workplace
- recognition of toxic hazards in the workplace
- care of welfare in the workplace
- care of first aid facilities
- completing documentation
- assessment of a casualty
- bleeding and wound care
- administration of medications
- management of musculoskeletal injuries
- apply principles of triage
- identification of confined spaces in the workplace
A current Senior First Aid/Workplace Level 2 Statement of Attainment is a prerequisite for enrolment into this course. Current industry standard is for this course to be updated every 3 years with the Advanced Resuscitation component being updated every 12 months.[Next: Supporting documents and information ]