What is first aid?
First aid is a set of important life saving skills that are part of a country, health department, community or organization and family’s emergency response planning system. First aid training courses are there to teach people how to perform these skills, how to do it, what to do and what not to do. The course consists of a wide range of theoretical knowledge, as well as a number of practical skills, which cover a number of illnesses, medical and trauma incidents and accidents.
Accepted first aid training courses are courses that are accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and their affiliate organizations such as the Health and Welfare Sectional Educational Training Authority, who approved training organizations to proceed with first aid training, such as Absolute Health Services which is an accredited skills development provider, or accredited first aid provider.
What is the purpose of first aid?
The primary aim of first aid is to assist ill or injured people with first aid care, until the emergency care services, paramedics, or ambulances can arrive and take over care of that person. First aid is a critical link in the chain of survival for a country’s health care system and structure. With the rapid provision of first aid, which is the first point of emergency care, the rest of the healthcare system kicks in to further assist a patient on their journey to recovery and well being.
There are many different emergency scenarios that the quick actions and supply of first aid treatment, will assist in saving someone’s life, or assist in reducing the seriousness and long term damage of an injury. That is why first aid is in and part of the South Africa Occupational Health and Safety act and enforced by the Department of Labour. The supply of quick and effective cardio pulmonary resuscitation – CPR – will assist in keeping a cardiac arrest patient’s vital organs alive until the paramedics arrive and take over the resuscitation.
First aid is crucial to know in some of the following cases or medical situations:
- Placing an unconscious person into the lateral recovery position to keep their airway open so that they can breath;
- Applying direct pressure to a arterial bleed and in so doing slow down the loss of blood which is needed to keep a person alive;
- Using an AED to shock a patient during a resuscitation and start their heart beating again and they may well wake up before the paramedics get to the scene!
The 3 P’s of first aid are:
- Prevent – further illness or injury.
- Promote – recovery.
- Preserve – life.
How has the first aid industry developed over the years in the South African context?
The South African regulation and occupational health and safety act, state that every employer shall provide first aid treatment at all times within the workplace. It has always been and still is therefore a legal requirement for employers to provide or send their staff on accredited first aid training courses. Unfortunately, there are many non-accredited training providers and that is why the Chief Inspector for OHS recently released a government gazette, stating that all first aid training must be fully accredited by a SETA, as is Absolute Health Service a SETA accredited first aid training course provider. We will ensure your companies, or organizations compliance, providing you with professional help and assistance wherever we can.
First aid has predominantly stayed the same over the years, with some minor adjustments here and there, such as, the importance of CPR is the chest compressions and not so much focus on the breathing, which suits us all in the current COVID pandemic situation. We now only perform chest compressions CPR and do not perform or administer any ventilations or breathing. What has been reiterated by emergency care and medical research is that performing the basics well such as first aid care, is one of the most important aspects of assisting the ill and injured until they can get to the emergency departments at a hospital. Back to basics and provide good quality first aid treatment.
It is a legal obligation and requirement that all workplaces adhere to the occupational health and safety act and its regulations such as the general safety regulation, which informes everyone about the first aid regulatory and act compliance requirements.
What are the types of first aid?
There is predominantly one main first aid course and a fairly standard accepted treatment protocol, which is tweaked or changed slightly for most injuries and illnesses. Therefore the three various first aid level courses – National Qualification Framework (NQF) level 1, 2, and 3 are similar in content but cover different outcome and completion time durations requirements.
We suggest and recommend that all workplaces and organizations send their employees on the first aid NQF level 1 first aid training course, which is 2 ½ days in classroom training duration. The delegates or learners then need to complete a workplace assignment, which needs to be sent back to Absolute Health Services, which forms part of the learners portfolio of evidence. The SETA’s are ensuring that the training South Africans complete involves practical skills experience and not just theoretical knowledge.
The recommended first aid NQF level 1 course covers topics such as:
• Introduction and basic principles of first aid and emergency scene management
• Terminology, positioning, elementary anatomy and physiology
• Workplace preparedness, safety, emergency scene and patient assessment
• First aid treatment procedures for life threatening and common injuries
• Cardiopulmonary resuscitation and choking international protocols
• Bleeding, wounds and burns
• Head, spinal, chest, abdominal, pelvic and fractures injuries
• Environmental emergencies, near drowning, bites and stings and poisoning
• Medical emergencies and shock management
• Triage, record keeping and emergency carry methods
AHS Fully Accredited First Aid Training Organization
Absolute Health Services instructors are professional paramedics with a wealth of knowledge in the emergency care and first aid environment, thereby ensuring that we meet the HWSETA accreditation requirements and offer our delegates good quality first aid training.
We are one of the few fully accredited first aid training providers accredited with the Department of Labour as an accredited First Aid Training Organization, in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the General Safety Regulation requirements and the recent government gazette notice released on the 4th July 2021 regarding first aid training requirements.
Sending your workplace employees on an Absolute Health Services first aid training course will ensure that you meet the compliance requirements of the act and are able to assist fellow employees in need of first aid care whilst at work. First aid does make a difference, so go ahead and please book your employees on one of our first aid training courses.