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First Aid and Hygiene

Health & hygiene – be prepared

In the event of an accident, swift action is essential to reduce the severity of any injury or damage. In the workplace, an Emergency Response Plan should be formulated to protect employees, visitors and members of the public on the premises. The first step is to carry out a thorough risk assessment to identify areas of potential danger or activities that may pose a risk.

For both first aid and hygiene, fast response time is crucial to success. Whether the incident involves an injury or a mishap, a good Emergency Response Plan will ensure that treatment can be carried out promptly and effectively. Matters to consider include equipment needed, such as first aid or cleaning kits, and having personnel on the premises who are trained to use these. Priority in any incident is life safety, while the second priority is to stabilise the incident to prevent the effects spreading. Health and hygiene procedures should be communicated to everyone on the premises through good signage and information.

Early defibrillation is critical to survival

Among the first aid equipment that you should consider having on your premises is an AED, better known as a defibrillator. These are easy to use, and while training is recommended, in an emergency, anyone can operate it. Cardiac arrest is a condition where prompt treatment can literally mean the difference between life and death, with survival rates reported by St John Ambulance to be as high as 74% if there is an AED quickly available.

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Appropriate first aid equipment saves lives

Accidents can happen in even the best-run workplace and a comprehensive first aid kit should be available to deal with these. While there are no mandatory items for a workplace first aid kit, items to include are plasters, bandages, dressings, eye pads, safety pins and disposable gloves. Whether a trained first aider is required at your workplace will depend on the nature of the premises and occupation, but even if it is not required, you should have an appointed person to take charge of maintaining the first aid equipment and facilities.

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Prevent diseases and infections by encouraging good hygiene

Good hygiene can prevent infections from spreading in the workspace. Ensure that you have adequate handwashing facilities located in bathrooms and kitchens and make available hand wash and paper towels which can be moved to wherever they are required. In work premises involved in food handling, catering or healthcare, it is particularly important that hygiene practices meet the highest standards. However, in any workplace, good hygiene will make your staff feel more comfortable and will present a good impression to visitors.

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Clean up before a hazard becomes an accident

A spillage in the workplace can cause damage and may also represent a hazard if it leaves floors slippery. If the substance spilt is hazardous or flammable, then the risks are more severe. It is impossible to completely avoid spills, but by providing effective cleaning equipment such as brooms, mops, cleaning solutions and sprays, the hazards and damage can be kept to a minimum. Warning signs are also useful to alert staff to the presence of a spill or warn that the floor may be wet.

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