Concussion treatment first aid is essential to enhance health and safety within the office.
What is concussion?
A concussion is classified as a mild brain injury: usually caused by a blow to the head, or a violent shaking of the head and body. It can be treated by a medical professional and could last anything from several days to a few weeks.
Signs and symptoms of possible concussion
- Headache or feeling of “pressure” in the head.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Loss of balance, feeling dizzy or having double vision or blurry vision.
- Sensitivity to light or noise.
- Feeling sluggish, foggy, or groggy.
- Confusion, concentration problems or memory loss.
- Speech disturbances.
What are the common causes of a concussion in the workplace environment?
Falling from a flight of stairs, or even slipping on a wet floor and falling on your back and hitting your head on a hard surface can possibly cause concussion or worse head injuries either to the skull, or brain.
Objects falling on top of your head because of improper stacking and storage facilities and techniques may cause concussion.
Machinery causing flying or falling objects.
Uncontrolled moving objects or machinery.
Preventative measures that can be taken at work
The first and probably the most important step, is to have a proper safety management system in your workplace. The Occupational Health and Safety Act 85: 1993 mentions specifically in Section 8- of this Act that the Employer is ultimately responsible for providing a safe working environment together with safe working procedures and providing training and PPE. Some examples of this would be:
- Having proper safety and warning signs in the workplace can prevent falls.
- Providing slip and trip strips on stairs and wet areas
- Creating awareness through safety meetings and toolbox talks
Creating a safe working environment can be achieved by first implementing safety measures in the workplace and then sending staff on training. More importantly, having employees with a first aid certification in the office, together with health and safety representatives, will ensure compliance and play a vital role in helping their fellow employees during emergencies. They will also assist in achieving and maintaining a safe working environment.
The nominated first aiders can attend our First Aid NQF Level 1 course which will equip them to understand how to treat a patient correctly, what needs to be included in a first aid kit and how to deliver basic life support in the work environment. They will also learn how to identify and treat both concussion and severe head injuries.
Concussion and severe head injuries can be hard for the first aider to differentiate so the treatment remains the same:
Start with the normal treatment procedure known as the Primary and Secondary Survey:
- Using the acronym DRABCD: (also making sure to get a bystander to keep the head as still as possible)
- Danger- Making sure you are safe, ensuring scene safety and bystander safety
- Response – checking to see whether your patient is responding
- Airway – Opening your patient’s airway through the head-tilt-chin lift-method
- Breathing – Look-listen-feel for breathing for no more than 10 seconds
- Circulation and Call: Check your patient’s pulse and call for back up: the first aider needs to phone the ambulance, as head injuries and even concussion need a proper diagnosis from the hospital. (Sending the patient for a CT scan to make sure there are no bleeding to the brain).
- Defibrillation if and when needed: (AED usage – when CPR is needed)
- Secondary Survey:
- Vital signs – checking your patient’s temperature and changes in skin colour (for example, during concussion and head injuries, the patient might go into medical shock so the skin might turn pale, and patient might lose consciousness)
- SAMPLE history- asking medical history relating to the patient
- Head-to-toe examination – doing a proper head to toe examination to identify any other injuries that might have occurred during the fall or object falling onto the patient’s head.
These are only a few examples of what the first aiders do during the 2-day first aid training course at AHS, so recommendations would be to get people a first aid certification which will prepare them for all types of emergencies, including knowing how to identify and treat concussion and other head injuries.
The health and safety representative can attend the 1-day H&S rep course at AHS. This course will equip them in understanding both health and safety compliance in the workplace as well as knowing their roles and responsibilities in their environment. They will learn how to prevent falls and possible concussions by knowing and understanding health and safety; how to do their monthly inspections in their work environment; how to identify potential hazards; investigate incidents and accidents and understand the importance of things like safety signs.
Today’s topic only gave us the outline of concussion and head injuries and how to prevent them in your work environment. The best way forward is to attend one of our first aid or health and safety courses at AHS.