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First Aid in the Workplace

If you are a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) you must ensure your workplace provides workers and anyone else attending your workplace with access to appropriate first aid equipment. You must also ensure that your workers have access to an adequate number of persons who have been trained to administer first aid - refer to page 4 of the Code.

Determining your workplace needs

The exact composition of your first aid equipment (first aid kits and other equipment used to treat injury and illness) and the number of trained first aiders will vary depending upon the size and location of the workplace and the risks and hazards associated with the work being undertaken - refer to page 6 of the Code.

You should undertake a risk assessment to assist in determining your first aid requirements. This should include consultation with your workers to take their views into account. The basic elements of a risk assessment are: Identify, Assess, Review. Refer to page 6 of the Code for a list of potential injuries associated with common hazards.

Refer to the fact sheet in this series summarising the Code of Practice - How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks for more information on the risk assessment process.

First aiders

A first aider is a person who has successfully completed a nationally accredited training course, or an equivalent level of training, that has given them the competencies required to administer first aid. It is recommended that you should have one first aider for every 25 workers in a high risk workplace and one first aider for every 50 workers in a low risk workplace - refer to page 13 of the Code.

If you share your workplace with other businesses or are one of several small tenants in a large building, such as a shopping centre, instead of training your own workers you may be able to consult with other business operators and building management to ensure that your workers have access to first aiders.

First aid kits

All workers must have access to a first aid kit. This will require at least one first aid kit to be provided at your workplace.

The first aid kit should provide basic equipment for administering first aid for injuries. The exact contents of your first aid kit should be based on a risk assessment of the particular circumstances of your workplace - refer to page 9 of the Code.

First aid kits can be any size or shape, provided they are large enough to contain all the necessary items. They must however be identifiable with a white cross on a green background and be made of material that will protect the contents from dust, moisture and contamination.

A person in the workplace, usually a qualified first aider, should be nominated to maintain the first aid kit.

Other first aid equipment and facilities

In addition to first aid kits, you should consider whether any other first aid equipment is necessary to treat injuries and illnesses that could occur in your workplace. This may include eye wash and shower equipment (permanent or portable), or even an automated defibrillator where there is a risk of electrocution or large numbers of members of the public are regularly in or around your workplace.

A first aid room is recommended for high risk workplaces of more than 100 workers and low risk workplaces of more than 200 workers. However, a risk assessment may find it necessary to provide a dedicated first aid treatment area in a smaller workplace.

As is the case with first aiders, if you share your workplace or building with other businesses, you may be able to provide your workers with shared equipment and facilities. Displaying well recognised first aid signs will assist in locating first aid equipment and facilities - refer to page 10 of the Code.

First aid procedures

You should develop first aid procedures to ensure that workers have a clear understanding of first aid in their workplace - refer to page 15 of the Code.

You may wish to incorporate your first aid procedure into the emergency planning procedure that is required under Regulation 43 of the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA). This requires you to prepare an emergency plan for your workplace that provides procedures to respond effectively in an emergency - refer to page 16 of the Code.

Reviewing first aid arrangements

Workplaces and work environments can change as new hazards get introduced or when current hazards are eliminated. Therefore you should regularly review your first aid arrangements in consultation with your workers to ensure they remain adequate and effective ? refer to page 17 of the Code.