L&D professionals don’t often think of first-aid training as a standard part of workplace safety training or onboarding unless they work in the medical industry or highly hazardous environments. And even then, sometimes first-aid training isn’t always seen as a necessity. But emergencies and injuries happen all the time in the workplace, regardless of whether you work in an office building or a factory. And they always happen when everyone least expects them to happen.
So, yes, every workplace should consider implementing first-aid training.
After an employee engages in first-aid training, he or she should be able to do the following:
Locate the First-Aid Kit
At the very minimum, every single one of your employees should know where they can locate the first-aid kit on their floor or inside their working space or area. Each first-aid kit should have things like gauze, bandages, tweezers, burn and antiseptic ointment, alcohol-free cleansing wipes, etc. Check out the American Red Cross’s Anatomy of a First Aid Kit for more details.
Address Common or Likely Injuries
While you should never expect or encourage your employees to tend to an injured person if they’re not medically certified or licensed, they should know basic things about what to do in certain emergencies when someone gets hurt.
For instance, they should know what not to do if someone sustains a chemical burn, if your workplace has multiple chemicals around. They should know not to move someone who can potentially have a spinal injury, if they see someone fall. And they should know what to do if someone severely cuts him- or herself on a piece of machinery, and so on.
Know What to Do if Someone Chokes or Needs CPR
Consider having a few employees certified in CPR in case someone chokes or stops breathing. This may not seem necessary at first, but it is quite possible for an employee to choke on his or her lunch in the breakroom one day or for someone to have breathing problems.
While you don’t necessarily need every employee to be certified in CPR, you should designate a few people (in case someone calls out or works on a separate floor) to become certified. And then make sure everyone knows who is certified in CPR.
Be Prepared for Potential Opioid Overdoses
The U.S. Surgeon General released the first advisory warning that has been issued in 13 years this past April. He urged more Americans to carry naloxone, a drug that can reverse the opioid overdoses that kill a person every 12 minutes in the United States.
More and more people are overdosing on opioids away from medical facilities and aren’t able to get the immediate medical attention they need. (USA Today) So, be sure your first-aid kits also include this drug and that someone knows how to use it.
Keep the information above as you’re considering first-aid training in your workplace.