What is first aid?
First aid is a set of important lifesaving skills that are part of a country, health department, community/ organisation, or family’s emergency response planning system. A first aid training course is there to teach people how to perform these first aid skills. The course consists of a wide range of theoretical knowledge, as well as several practical skills, which cover a number of illnesses, medical and trauma emergencies, situations, conditions, 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 (HWSETA), which approves training providers to proceed with first aid training. Absolute Health Services is an accredited skills development and first aid training provider with the HWSETA.
What is the purpose of first aid?
The primary objective of first aid is to assist people who are ill or have an injury with first aid care, until the emergency services, paramedics, or ambulances can arrive and take over the care of that person. 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 wellbeing.
First aid matters, as the quick actions of a first aider, can assist in saving someone’s life or reduce the seriousness and long-term damage of an injury. That is why first aid is an integral part of the South Africa Occupational Health and Safety act and enforced by the Department of Employment and Labour.
Examples of common accidents and emergencies could be:
- Choking on a piece of food
- Cutting your hand open with a sharp knife
- Falling off a ladder and getting a head injury or a concussion
- Having a heart attack and requiring CPR with an AED to shock you so that your heart starts beating properly again.
There are many different emergency scenarios that which 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 cardiopulmonary 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 breathe;
- Applying direct pressure to an arterial bleed and in so doing slow down the loss of blood that is needed to keep a person alive;
- Using an AED to shock a patient during 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, states 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 ventilation 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 informs everyone about the first aid regulatory and act compliance requirements.
How has COVID-19 changed first aid: Training and practicing
The South African regulation and occupational health and safety act, states that every employer shall always provide first aid treatment within the workplace. It has always been and still is a legal requirement for employers to provide or send their staff on accredited first aid training courses. There are many non-accredited training providers and that is why the Chief Inspector for OHS released a government gazette in 2021, stating that all first aid training must be fully accredited by a SETA. Absolute Health Services is accredited and we will ensure your company’s, or organization’s compliance, providing you with professional help and assistance wherever we can.
With Covid-19, a few changes were brought into the training of first aid. There is more emphasis on using PPE where possible and CPR is still important but with the focus now on the chest compressions and not so much on the rescue breaths. What has been reiterated by emergency care and medical research is that performing the basics well, is one of the most important aspects of assisting the ill and injured until they can get to the emergency department at a hospital.
Changes in the training of first aid in South Africa
The traditional Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) First Aid Level 1, 2, and 3 (or combination) courses can no longer be taught as they are not approved by the DEL.
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 training courses – National Qualification Framework (NQF) level 1, 2, and 3 – are similar in content, but have different entry requirements, cover different outcomes, and have different completion time durations. We suggest and recommend that all workplaces and organizations send their employees on the First Aid NQF Level 1 training course.
The First Aid NQF Level 1 course covers topics such as:
- Introduction, basic principles of first aid, legal aspects, and scene safety
- Positioning, elementary anatomy and physiology
- Scene survey and casualty assessment
- First aid treatment procedures for life-threatening and common injuries
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and choking
- Shock and fainting
- Bleeding, wounds, and burns
- Fractures, sprains, and strains
- Head, spinal, chest, and abdominal injuries.
- Environmental emergencies, bites and stings and poisoning
- Medical emergencies
- Triage and record-keeping
AHS Fully Accredited First Aid Training Organization
Absolute Health Services is one of the few fully accredited first aid training providers. Our 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! Book your employees on our First Aid NQF Level 1 training course today.