Question: When do employees need to be trained to administer first aid?
Answer: The purpose of first aid is to provide an injured person with a minimum level of medical attention as quickly as possible. In minor cases, first aid may be all that is necessary to help an injured person. In more serious cases, providing first aid until an emergency medical technician, nurse or doctor is available can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) standard for first aid training says: “In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid. Adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available” [29 CFR 1910.151(b)].
In an interpretation letter, OSHA clarifies that their definition of “in near proximity” means that emergency medical services must be available within 3 to 4 minutes if there is the potential for serious injuries that involve uncontrolled breathing, cardiac arrests or stopped breathing such as falls, amputations, or electrocutions. If the possibility of injuries is more remote, such as in an office setting, a reasonable response time may be up to 15 minutes.
For workplaces that are not located near infirmaries, clinics or hospitals, training onsite employees to administer first aid until emergency medical services arrive is a recommended method of complying with this requirement. These designated employees should be taught the skills needed to provide assistance in the first moments after an injury or medical emergency.
OSHA does not require CPR or AED training as part of first aid training for every facility, but they do recommend it as a best practice. Some specific OSHA standards, such as permit-required confined space [29 CFR 1910.146]; electrical power generation, transmission and distribution [29 CFR 1910.269]; and logging operations [29 CFR 1910.266] do require employees to be trained in both first aid and CPR.
Employees who are trained in first aid and who will render assistance need to have ready access to first aid supplies. OSHA recommends the ANSI/ISEA Z308.1-2015 Standard as a reference for the types and amounts of items that should be maintained in first aid kits or supply areas.
Because employees who will provide first aid could be exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials, they are covered under the bloodborne pathogens standard [29 CFR 1910.1030]. Each employee who will render first aid must be made aware of bloodborne hazards, provided with proper protective equipment to avoid exposure and offered a hepatitis B vaccine.
Training employees to provide first aid gives them the knowledge they need to quickly and accurately help an injured coworker. It also helps to minimize panic and empowers employees to take immediate action during medical emergencies.
Kylie Dottssays:06/08/2017 at 4:22 pm
I really like the quote you shared by OSHA and how it mentioned that there should be at least one person who is trained to render first aid. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a coworker who was injured or started having a seizure and then nobody knowing how to help them. Even if there wasn’t a single person who was specialized in first-aid it could be a good idea to get your whole workforce to take a first aid class so there will always be a few individuals who at least have a basic idea of how to handle most work place injuries. Being prepared to help someone who is injured in your workplace could help save lives of coworkers or employees.
Ridley Fitzgeraldsays:07/19/2017 at 2:29 pm
It’s interesting to think that some companies are required to be trained in first aid. My job isn’t close to any hospital, so I wonder who is trained there? Maybe I can ask to get trained, because I’ve always wanted to learn that!
Karensays:07/25/2017 at 8:21 pm
Hi Ridley, thank you for your comment!
When there is an emergency, it’s comforting to know that you have the skills to help someone in need. And, in the event that you aren’t trained to help, it’s good to know who has been trained so that you can summon their help immediately. To see who may be trained in first aid in your workplace, check with your facility’s safety officer or human resources director.
OSHA does not specify who within the facility needs to be trained, so it is possible that your company may designate who receives this type of training. Some facilities choose to train everyone who expresses a desire to learn. Others will train specific groups of people or people in specified job categories. For example, all safety committee members, supervisors, managers, etc. may be trained.
If for some reason you cannot receive training at your facility, check with your local Red Cross or American Heart Association. Both provide first aid and CPR training to community members for a small fee. You may also be able to receive free training from the local fire department or emergency management agency.
Henry colesays:10/22/2017 at 9:57 pm
Life is important. Anytime someone can fall in a problem or wanted situation. We are bound to do many staff for our life. Sometimes we face risky situation because of our work. We need to learn how can reduce the risk and what the steps to take in the meantime. Your content is really useful and I feel those who have time they should take this course as soon as they can. Thanks for writing great post. Cheers
Ashley Turnssays:02/06/2018 at 8:34 pm
I appreciate you letting us know that we should have some employees trained in first aid if there isn’t some kind of hospital or infirmary in close proximity to the office. The company I work for has been looking at its safety standards, and they are wondering if they should have everyone trained in first aid. I will be sure to tell my boss that we should all go into this program since the closest medical center is a few miles away from the office.
Jaysays:04/19/2018 at 3:52 pm
I never thought about how long it could take medical pros to get to someone in need. I can see the benefit of having the first aid training! You never really know when someone is going to need care, and if you’re the closest, you’re going to need that know-how.
Leave a Reply