Every workplace has a legal responsibility for ensuring adequate first aid provisions.
Depending on a few factors, the exact configuration of your first aid equipment and the number of trained first aiders will vary. These factors include the size of your workforce, the location and the risks associated with the nature of the work.
All workers must have access to at least one first aid kit in the workplace. Keep first aid kits close to areas where there is a higher risk of injury or illness, as well as inside work vehicles if workers are expected to travel as part of their job.
It is recommended to have one first aider for:
- every 25 workers in a high-risk workplace
- every 50 workers in a low-risk workplace.
However, if the workplace is shared with other businesses or is one of several tenants in a large building such as a shopping centre, there are other routes to follow. For example, 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.
You have a duty to provide first aid. You must give your workers, and anyone else attending your workplace, access to:
- appropriate first aid equipment
- trained first aiders.
Access to, and provision of, first aid must be at no cost to your workers or your first aiders.
Compiling a risk assessment is important as it will help determine your first aid requirements. This should include consultation with your workers to take their views into account. The contents of first aid kits should be based on your first aid risk assessment.
Employers and first aiders should familiarise themselves with the First aid in the workplace - Code of Practice.
Trained first aiders
Having qualified first aiders in your workplace is vital. The provision of prompt and appropriate first aid can reduce the severity of an injury or illness and in extreme cases, could mean the difference between life and death.
In order to be recognised as a first aider, a person needs to complete either a nationally accredited training course or an equivalent training course that has given them the capabilities required to administer first aid. There are a number of training providers in South Australia that provide accredited first aid training.
First aid kits
With first aid kits, it is imperative that all workers have access to at least one in the workplace. A first aider or a person within the workplace should be nominated to maintain the first aid kit.
Included in the first aid kit should be sufficient basic equipment for administering first aid for injuries such as bandages, adhesive tape, scissors, antiseptic cream and disposable gloves. In order to know what contents are actually needed inside the first aid kit, you will need to conduct a risk assessment of the workplace. For example, a first aid kit for an office or a construction site will contain different items than one for a science laboratory.
First aid kits must be identifiable with a white cross on a green background and be made of a material that will protect the contents from dust, moisture and contamination. They can be any size or shape but must be large enough to contain all of the necessary items.
First aid room
A first aid room is recommended for:
- high-risk workplaces of more than 100 workers
- low-risk workplaces of more than 200 workers.
A risk assessment may find it necessary to provide a dedicated first aid treatment area in a smaller workplace.
Other first aid equipment and facilities
In addition to first aid kits, it is important to consider if any other first aid equipment is necessary to treat injuries and illness that could occur in the workplace. This may include:
- permanent or portable eyewash and shower equipment
- an automated defibrillator where there is a risk of electrocution or large numbers of members of the public are regularly in or around the workplace.
First aid - Safe Work Australia