Having a team member in the workplace who has a first aid certification can mean the difference between life and death. This is not really a topic anyone wants to talk about, as it can be rather unpleasant, but accidents do happen and it is better to be prepared for any eventuality. Sometimes accidents can be really serious or they are life threatening. It only takes six minutes for the human brain to die due to lack of oxygen, which means that time is not on your side in an emergency.
In South Africa, we have an alarming shortage of paramedic and ambulance resources. This often means that in an emergency, these lifesaving assets are delayed. An employee with certified formal workplace first aid training can be a life-saving asset to you, your company and the injured person. By being able to assess the situation and take control, your employee may be able to keep a person alive long enough for the emergency services to arrive.
Some major benefits of first aid training in the workplace are:
- Training equips employees with the confidence and ability to provide help during various emergency situations. If someone suffers health-related issues like a heart attack, or a stroke, your employee’s knowledge and skills in first aid treatment becomes an invaluable asset to support not only the patients, but also the professional emergency responders, as the first aiders often keep the patients alive until they get there. The patient’s chance of survival and improved outcomes are often directly linked to whether first aid or CPR is administered timeously.
- First aid helps ensure that the right methods of medical assistance are provided. You not only have an employee who is willing to assist, but is able to assist. Trained first aiders are a critical link in the chain of survival, which is a world-wide acknowledged reality and requirement.
- When emergencies occur, first aiders can improve recovery rates and chances and in so doing benefit the patient and the company, by decreasing down time, replacement overheads, insurance and medical aid claims and reputational damage etc.
Some practical examples of why first aid certification is necessary:
We are taught to believe that abdominal thrusts are always necessary during choking, However someone with a valid first aid certification will tell you that if someone is choking you must first assess the situation and ask the patient “are you choking?” and recognize the response and distress signals, then ask them to try cough the obstruction out and only if the patient’s airway to totally blocked and they are not breathing do they then require a mix of back blows followed by abdominal thrusts.
When someone is having a fit or seizure, some people say that you should place a spoon in the victim’s mouth to prevent them from biting their tongue. A person with first aid certification knows to never place or force anything in a victim’s mouth, but rather turn them onto their side, so that their airway and tongue do not block their airway.
You may have heard that putting butter or petroleum jelly on the burnt area is good for a burn and a great pain reliever however, someone with first aid certification will know that the area needs to be flushed with cool water as quickly as possible and for at least 20 minutes. A burnshield dressing should then be applied, which is found in the Regulation 7 first aid box. Appling butter, mayonnaise, toothpaste or petroleum jelly will only cause further injury and hamper recovery.
Many people believe that applying hot compresses to strains and sprains is the best treatment, however someone with first aid certification will know that RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression bandage and Elevation) is the correct treatment. A hot compress will dilate the vessels and increase the severity of inflammation.
Do you know what first aid certification is a legal requirement for all companies?
- The Occupational Health and Safety Act No 85 of 1993 states that an employer must take all reasonable steps that are necessary under the circumstances to ensure that employees in the workplace receive prompt first aid treatment in the event of injury or medical emergency.
- If you have more than 5 employees that are employed at a single workplace, you must provide a suitable first aid box which is accessible in the workplace for the treatment of the injured.
- If you have more than 10 employees that are employed at a single workplace a first aider is required and thereafter, the employer must ensure that for every group of up to 50 employees at that particular workplace, there is at least one person readily available during normal working hours who is in possession of a valid first aid certificate issued by an organisation approved by the chief inspector of the Department of Labour.
Appointing a reputable, accredited (HWSETA and DOL) and experienced Occupational Health and Safety training service provider, will ensure that your first aid training and equipment legal requirements are met. This means that you are prepared, in a position to save a life and that no nasty legal fees sneak up on you.
What is First Aid NQF Level 1?
There are 3 different first aid courses with different titles, NQF levels, credits, and outcomes. First Aid NQF Level 1 is the first aid course that we suggest all workplace delegates attend, as the other two first aid courses (NQF level 2 and 3) have a SETA entry requirement which requires delegates to attend a SETA accredited HIV AID’s course before attending the first aid NQF level 2 and 3 courses.
The course covers:
- Demonstrate an understanding of emergency scene management;
- Demonstrate an understanding of elementary anatomy and physiology;
- Assess an emergency situation;
- Apply emergency first aid procedures to the life-threatening situation;
- Treat common injuries.
Absolute Health Services (AHS) offers accredited Health and Safety (H&S) training, ensuring that our clients receive current, professional and quality training. All our training instructors are paramedics registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa and have extensive practical operational experience and have specialised in First Aid, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), Firefighting and H&S training. Our training courses contain the latest theoretical course content and extensive practical content and scenario training, thereby ensuring both theoretical and practical exposure.