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Workplace first aid during COVID-19

First aid in a pandemic

This year has presented new challenges in near enough every aspect of our lives, making it hard to know how to act sometimes or what to do in certain situations. At a time where health and safety have become more important than ever, we have had increasing numbers of questions and enquiries about how to manage first aid in emergency situations due to social distancing rules.

Guidance for employers

As an employer, you should consider re-examining your first aid at work needs assessment. COVID-19 has changed the workplace for millions of people across the country, and it’s likely that things won’t go back to normal for a long time yet.

As the times change, you must make sure that your workplace is adapting to keep up with the new regulations put in place to prevent the spread of the pandemic. Your staff will need more training to make sure they’re up to speed with COVID-19 first aid protocols. They might need workplace first aid refresher training upon returning to the office.

There are lots of new first aid requirements put into place since the spread of COVID-19.

For example:

  • Workers who have first aid responsibilities may be at high risk to COVID-19: you’ll need to replace them in order to minimise their exposure to other employees, which means training new staff in first aid to take their place
  • First aid equipment needs assessing to make sure that your first aiders are using gear that minimises the risk of transmission
  • Offices, rooms and workplace settings have to be organised to make sure there is sufficient space for first aiders to assess situations at a safe distance

These are all things that might not initially present themselves as important considerations but are essential when delivering first aid in the current situation we’re in. You should discuss these factors with your first aiders and put together a comprehensive risk assessment covering all the relevant aspects that apply to your place of work. Also getting up to date workplace first aid training will help everyone to feel more confident and safe in what they need to do.

Guidance for first aiders

Providing first aid during the pandemic includes several key steps which must be taken into account in order to minimise the risk of transmission. While keeping your distance should always be a priority, there are of course some scenarios where you might have to approach an individual in order to provide first aid.

Before first aid

You should try to make sure you wash your hands before approaching someone or performing manoeuvres such as CPR or helping someone sit into a comfortable position.

Before administering CPR, use a clean cloth or towel to lightly cover the afflicted individuals’ mouth and nose. This should be done in a way which does not restrict easy breathing to the person after successful CPR has been performed.

During first aid

If possible, use the following equipment while performing any first aid procedures which require close contact with another person:

  • a fluid-repellent surgical mask
  • disposable gloves
  • eye protection
  • apron or other suitable covering

If it’s not necessary to perform CPR or approach, then keep your distance in order to prevent sharing the same breathing zone. Make sure you speak to the individual and ask them to do simple first aid steps instead of unnecessarily entering their space.

When contacting emergency services, be sure to let them know if the patient has any symptoms of COVID-19.

After first aid

After administering first aid to someone, whether you suspect they have COVID-19 or not, you should make sure you complete the following steps:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based sanitiser as soon as possible
  • Safely dispose of any first aid equipment or gear used during the first aid process
    Remember to refill any first aid supplies that were depleted

 

Conclusion

Ensuring health and safety during the pandemic is of course of paramount importance. But it’s even more important to make sure that you’re going about it in the right way. The key step is to reassess the first aid needs in your particular workplace and make sure that your employees are safe to be doing the activities that they are.

If there are fewer people in your workplace due to social distancing regulations or your usual first aiders working remotely, make sure your remaining staff are adequately trained. It’s important to regularly refresh your first aid training anyway, but even more so during COVID-19.

We offer comprehensive workplace training courses that take the new COVID-19 regulations into account, so you can be certain your staff are brought right up to speed. Give us a call today to speak to a member of our team and get your first aid training booked in.

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  • info@vitalworkplacetraining.co.uk

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