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Toby Howell AIEMA BA PGDip

CPR and First Aid: The Ultimate Astutis Guide

November 2023

Accidents and medical emergencies can happen at any time in the workplace, and being prepared to respond quickly and effectively can save lives. Competently administering CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and first aid in the workplace is a crucial skill every employee should be familiar with. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with the knowledge and steps necessary to competently administer CPR and first aid in the workplace, ensuring the safety and well-being of your colleagues.

This blog will offer guidance on CPR and first aid best practice. It will uncover quick and easy fixes to remedy emergency situations in the workplace that require action and will offer tips on how to protect the safety of your organisation through industry-leading health and safety training.

Why Workplace CPR and First Aid Training is Essential

  1. Quick Response: In a medical emergency, every second counts. Immediate response with CPR and first aid can significantly improve a person's chances of survival and reduce the severity of injuries.
  2. Legal Requirements: Many workplaces are required by law to have trained individuals capable of administering first aid and CPR. Compliance with these regulations is essential to avoid legal consequences.
  3. Reduce the Risk of Complications: Properly administered first aid can help prevent minor injuries from becoming major ones, reducing both the suffering of the affected person and potential worker's compensation claims.
  4. Boost Employee Confidence: Knowing that their colleagues are trained in CPR and first aid can provide a sense of security for employees, making them more confident and comfortable in the workplace.

CPR Basics

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a life-saving technique used in emergencies when a person's heartbeat or breathing has stopped. Understanding the basic principles of CPR is vital for anyone in a workplace setting.

  1. Check the Scene: Before approaching a victim, ensure the scene is safe for both you and the injured person. Remove any potential hazards.
  2. Assess Responsiveness: Gently tap or shake the person and shout "Are you okay?" to check if they are conscious and responsive.
  3. Call for Help: If the person is unresponsive or not breathing normally, call for professional medical assistance immediately. In the workplace, it's crucial to have an emergency response system in place.
  4. Begin Chest Compressions: Place the person on their back and kneel beside them. Position your hands, one on top of the other, in the centre of the chest, just below the nipple line. Push hard and fast at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute. Allow the chest to fully recoil between compressions.
  5. Provide Rescue Breaths: After thirty compressions, give two rescue breaths. Tilt the person's head back slightly, pinch their nose shut, and provide a breath lasting about one second. Watch for the chest to rise.
  6. Continue Cycles: Continue cycles of thirty compressions and two rescue breaths until professional help arrives, an automated external defibrillator (AED) is available, or the person starts breathing and shows signs of life.

First Aid Basics

In addition to CPR, knowing basic first aid techniques can be invaluable in the workplace. Knowing the basics could be the difference between saving a colleague's life; so with that in mind, here are some fundamental principles and actions to consider:

  1. Control Bleeding: In cases of bleeding, apply direct pressure to the wound using a clean cloth, bandage, or hand. Elevate the injured area if possible, but avoid doing so if there is a risk of bone injury.
  2. Immobilise Injuries: In cases of fractures or dislocations, immobilise the affected limb or joint using splints, boards, or any available materials.
  3. Treating Burns: For minor burns, cool the area with running cold water for at least ten minutes. Cover the burn with a sterile, non-stick dressing. Do not use adhesive bandages directly on burns. For severe burns, call for immediate medical assistance.
  4. Choking: If someone is choking, perform the Heimlich manoeuvre. Stand behind the person, place your fist just above the navel, grab it with your other hand, and perform quick inward and upward thrusts until the object is expelled.
  5. Eye Injuries: Rinse the affected eye with clean, lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes. Do not rub the eye, as it can worsen the injury.
  6. Shock: If a person is in shock, keep them lying down, elevate their legs if possible, and cover them to maintain body temperature. Call for professional medical assistance.

It is paramount that organisations attempt to install internal first aid officers in throughout their employee pyramid. These individuals will be the first port-of-call if/when a colleague needs assistance - therefore being trained in first aid and CPR is incredibly important as it could be the difference between saving a colleague's life and failing to do so.

Training and Certification

To competently administer CPR and first aid in the workplace, it is essential to receive proper training and certification. Many organisations can outsource some form of first aid training; however, investing in health and safety is always advisable. 

We offer health and safety training courses that provide the exact requirements for any organisation - from basic foundational theoretical understanding to advanced, comprehensive practical philosophies (more on this at the bottom of the blog).

Maintaining Your Skills

Competency in administering CPR and first aid is not a one-time achievement; it requires regular practice and updates. Consider the following:

  1. Regular Training: Refresh your CPR and first aid skills by attending periodic training and certification courses. Most certifications need renewal every 1-2 years.
  2. Mock Drills: Conduct simulated emergency scenarios to ensure employees are prepared and competent in responding to real-life situations.
  3. Update First Aid Kits: Regularly check and restock workplace first aid kits to ensure all necessary supplies are readily available.

First Aid has a reputation of being rarely required, which is only a good thing for the safety of your peers and workforce. However, workplaces can often fall into the pitfalls of not prioritising it. This, sadly, has led to the loss of life in workplaces across the globe in the past decades. Awareness is at an all-time high about the dangers of neglecting even the most simple and minutiae elements of health and safety. Therefore, organisations have a more significant responsibility than in years past to upskill and prepare their staff, just in case first aid or CPR is required whilst on the job. 

It's about being proactive, not reactive. By being a proactive organisation, risks and hazards can be remedied before they become a problem.

Ensure your organisation is protected with informed staff who possess best practices in first aid and CPR by investing in a health and safety training course. 

We offer courses engineered for every individual, whatever their role or occupational responsibility. 

Courses for Everyone

Basic health and safety principles are essential for every level of an organisation. If one level of an organisation fails to see the importance of health and safety, the health and safety standards will fall. This is why we have designed health and safety training courses tailored for every leadership level. 

For ground-level staff, we recommend: IOSH Working Safely. However, if these individual want to upskill into a managerial role the IOSH Managing Safely course is the perfect aid for professional development

For managerial or supervisory staff, we recommend: IOSH Managing Safely. Alternatively, the NEBOSH General Certificate offers a rich theoretical framework to health and safety in the workplace. 

For senior leaders or directors, we recommend: IOSH Safety for Executives and Directors.

These courses educate on essential basic health and safety principles; they don't specifically guide workplace first aid or CPR. Instead, they provide the fundamental understanding of health and safety to confidently operate with a concern for workplace health and safety firmly in mind. 

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