Course Introduction
LEARNER GUIDE
Session 1 - Demonstrate the Principles of Primary Emergency Care in the Workplace
Session 2 - Sustain a basic level of preparedness for health emergencies in the workplace
Session 3 - Assess and Manage an Emergency Scene in the Workplace
Session 4 - Demonstrate Primary Emergency Life Support for Adults, Children and Infants According to Current International Protocols
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Lesson 5 – The maintenance and storage of the relevant risk based primary emergency care kit is described and demonstrated where relevant in accordance with accepted workplace procedures

READ OR LISTEN 

 

MAINTENANCE AND STORAGE OF A FIRST AID KIT

All employees must know where the first aid kit is stored; must be able to access it and know who to contact in a situation when it needs to be used. This will require at least one first aid kit to be provided at the workplace.

Contents of the first aid kit

The first aid kit should provide basic equipment for administering first aid as stipulated earlier, including additional items to treat:

  • cuts, scratches, punctures, grazes and splinters
  • muscular sprains and strains
  • minor burns
  • amputations and/or major bleeding wounds
  • broken bones
  • eye injuries
  • shock

The contents of first aid kits should be based on a risk assessment. For example, there may be a higher risk of eye injuries and a need for additional eye pads in a workplace where:

  • chemical liquids or powders are handled in open containers
  • spraying, hosing or abrasive blasting operations are carried out
  • there is any possibility of flying particles causing eye injuries
  • there is a risk of splashing or spraying of infectious materials
  • welding, cutting or machining operations are carried out.

Additional equipment may be needed for serious burns and remote workplaces.

Location 

In the event of a serious injury or illness, quick access to the kit is vital. First aid kits should be kept in a prominent, accessible location and able to be retrieved promptly. Access should also be ensured in security-controlled workplaces. First aid kits should be located close to areas where there is a higher risk of injury or illness. If the workplace occupies several floors in a multi-storey building, at least one kit should be located on every second floor. Emergency floor plans displayed in the workplace should include the location of first aid kits. A portable first aid kit should be provided in the vehicles of mobile workers if that is their workplace (couriers, taxi drivers, sales representatives, bus drivers and inspectors). These kits should be safely located so as not to become a projectile in the event of an accident.

Restocking and maintaining kits 

A person in the workplace should be nominated to maintain the first aid kit (usually a first aider) and should:

  • Monitor access to the first aid kit and ensure any items used are replaced as soon as practicable after use
  • Undertake regular checks (at least once every month) to ensure the kit contains a complete set of the required items (an inventory list in the kit should be signed and dated after each check).
  • Ensure that items are in good working order, have not deteriorated, are within their expiry dates and that, sterile products are sealed and have not been tampered with.
  • Good practice should include the use of a formal first aid register used for the recording of incidents

First aid signs

Displaying well-recognised, standardised first aid signs will assist in easily locating first aid equipment and facilities. First aid signs may be constructed to suit individual requirements but should comply with AS 1319: 1994 – Safety Signs for the Occupational Environment.

Other first aid equipment

In addition to first aid kits, you should consider whether any other first aid equipment is necessary to treat the injuries or illnesses that could occur as a result of a hazard at your workplace.

Automatic External defibrillators

Providing an automatic defibrillator can reduce the risk of fatality from cardiac arrest and is a useful addition for workplaces where there is a risk of electrocution or where there are large numbers of members of the public. Automatic defibrillators are designed to be used by trained or untrained persons. They should be located in an area that is clearly visible, accessible and not exposed to extreme temperatures. They should be clearly signed and maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Eyewash and shower equipment 

Eyewash and shower equipment may be permanently fixed or portable, depending on the workplace.  Eyewash equipment should be provided where there is a risk of hazardous chemicals or infectious substances causing eye injuries.  Immediate access should be provided to shower equipment in workplaces where there is a risk of:

  • exposure to hazardous chemicals resulting in skin absorption or contamination from infectious substances
  • serious burns to a large area of the face or body (including chemical or electrical burns or burns that are deep, in sensitive areas or greater than a 20 cent piece).

Shower facilities can consist of:

  • an appropriate deluge facility
  • a permanently rigged hand-held shower hose
  • a portable plastic or rubber shower hose that is designed to be easily attached to a tap spout
  • Portable, self-contained eyewash or shower units have their own flushing fluid which needs to be refilled or replaced after use. Further guidance is available in AS 4775 – Emergency eyewash and shower equipment.

First aid facilities

A risk assessment will help determine the type of first aid facilities needed. For example, a clean, quiet area within the workplace that affords privacy to an injured or ill person may be suitable and practicable for some workplaces. Access to a telephone for contacting emergency services or an emergency call system should be provided as part of all first aid facilities.

First aid rooms

A first aid room should be established at the workplace if a risk assessment indicates that it would be difficult to administer appropriate first aid unless a first aid room is provided.  For example, workers who carry out work at workplaces where there is a higher risk of serious injury or illness occurring that would not only require immediate first aid but also further treatment by emergency services, may benefit from having access to a dedicated first aid room.

A first aid room is recommended for:

  • low-risk workplaces with 200 workers or more
  • high-risk workplaces with 100 workers or more.

The contents of a first aid room should suit the hazards that are specific to the workplace. The location and size of the room should allow easy access and movement of injured people who may need to be supported or moved by stretcher or wheelchair.

Health centres

Health centres staffed by a registered health practitioner (a doctor or nurse) or paramedic can provide emergency medical treatment and cater to the types of hazards in high-risk workplaces. A health centre may be established in the workplace (e.g. at a large mine site) or, if readily available, external emergency services may be used.   If a health centre is located in the workplace, the facility should:

  • be self-contained
  • be located at ground level where possible in a quiet, clean area that is a safe distance from hazardous operations and clear of any general thoroughfare
  • be convenient and accessible to workers at the times that they work and have an entrance clearly marked with health centre signage
  • have walls, floors and ceilings that are made of impervious materials and are easy to clean
  • have enough space to accommodate first aid equipment.