It is extremely important for all employees on a worksite to understand the basics of first aid. Contractors work in a wide variety of dangerous conditions, and they constantly face the risk of falls, struck by/caught between accidents, cuts, burns, and other injuries (depending on the industry and specific task being performed). If each employee understands the basics of first aid, this results in a safer environment for all involved. Minor injuries can be treated quickly to prevent infection or further strain. Additionally, trained employees can recognize the signs of more serious injuries, and therefore the appropriate aid can be called as soon as possible.
Guide for Discussion
Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell whether or not an injury requires professional medical attention. Here are some general guidelines to follow when determining the severity of an injury:
- In the case of cuts, you should seek medical attention if the cut reveals yellow, subcutaneous fatty tissue or bone; if the cut cannot be closed by pressing the sides of the skin together; if the cut is caused by a contaminated or rusty object; if the bleeding does not slow after a few minutes; and if the cut is caused by impalement (a foreign object is lodged and cannot be easily removed from the skin).
- In the case of falls or struck by/caught between accidents, you should seek medical attention if any part of the body is severely/abnormally swollen; if the affected part of the body cannot withstand weight; if you hear a cracking or popping noise during the injury; and if the affected part of the body cannot be moved.
- In the case of a head injury, you should seek medical attention if there is any change in pupil size; if you experience nausea or vomiting; if any liquid is draining from your nose, ears, or mouth; if you are lightheaded; if you are clumsy in your physical movements or speech; if you experience a headache; if you have a stiff neck; if you experience memory loss; or if you notice bruising on your face.
- If the injured individual loses consciousness at any time, you should ALWAYS seek immediate medical attention.
If the injury is serious:
- Contact the appropriate emergency response team(s). Attention discussion leader: please include local numbers for paramedics, hospitals, etc.
- Get First Aid trained personnel and ask them to help while waiting for emergency response teams to arrive. Do not move the injured person, and prevent the injured person from standing/moving.
- In case of bleeding, apply pressure to the wound until the response teams arrive. Do not use a tourniquet, unless the bleeding is excessive and unaffected by pressure.
- If the injured person has stopped breathing, find someone who has been trained in CPR to help.
- Try to keep the injured person warm.
If the injury is not serious:
- Contact your supervisor immediately.
- Tell the injured to stay where he/she is, especially in the case of a fall.
- Get any first aid treatment that may be needed. Company first aid kits can be found _________. In the case of minor cuts, disinfect the wound and apply bandages. In the case of minor sprains, apply ice and wrap the affected area with medical tape. In the case of minor burns, run the affected area under cold water for a few minutes, then apply burn ointment.
- Attention discussion leader: take some time here to train employees on how to treat minor injuries. Quickly review each item in your worksite first aid kit, and describe its intended use.
- Report all injuries to a supervisor—even minor ones may become major ones, and it is important to have a rough timeline of events if someone’s health takes a turn for the worse. Tell your employees the appropriate supervisor to report injuries and on the job accidents.
- Seek first aid for even minor injuries, and ALWAYS disinfect cuts and scrapes.
- Be sure that emergency telephone numbers and the location of the nearest cross street are posted in a conspicuous place on the job. Save them to your cellphones.
- Keep a First Aid action plan posted in a conspicuous location at all worksites.
- Keep a log of any employees who are officially certified to administer CPR and first aid.