First Aid In your Workplace: Four Key Areas For Awareness, Preparation and Training
When it comes to workplace injuries, every minute counts. In fact, locations with high risks of injuries, such as auto repair and manufacturing facilities must have an employee on-site who is trained to render first aid in the workplace. If not, “emergency care must be available within no more than 3-4 minutes from the workplace” per OSHA 29 CFR 1910.151(b). This OSHA requirement covers all facilities where serious accidents such as those involving falls, suffocation, electrocution or amputation are possible.
Main Sources of Injury
Recently, GMG EnviroSafe conducted an in-depth workplace study, collecting comprehensive injury data over a period of eight years for hundreds of automotive repair facilities. These logs tracked 40 different injury types reported on OSHA 300A logs (download one here). Among the most common injuries requiring first aid in the workplace were fractures, sprains, strains, punctures, lacerations and contusions. These made up nearly 75% of all reported injuries.
While injuries will always happen, fast action can be the difference between a minor injury and a serious one. In extreme cases, it can be the difference between life and death.
Facilities should be aware of the following to control injuries and reduce their impact.
Bloodborne Pathogens and Universal Precautions
A cut or puncture not only puts the injured employee at risk but those around them. That’s because, without proper precautions, an open or bleeding wound may pass bloodborne pathogens to others.
To avoid contact with blood or other bodily fluids, employees should have access to proper personal protective equipment such as gloves. Wearing protective barriers like gloves is commonly referred to as “Universal Precautions.” Per OSHA standard 1910.1020, “Universal precautions shall be observed to prevent contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials.”
GMG EnviroSafe offers several safety training classes that cover Universal Precautions and how to deal with bloodborne pathogens. A bloodborne pathogen course can be extremely beneficial; these courses are designed to teach those who are at a reasonable risk of coming into contact with blood or other bodily fluids.
First Aid Training and Supplies
Even in facilities that meet OSHA’s 3-4 minute rule (per OSHA 29 CFR 1910.151(b), mentioned above), it is valuable to have trained individuals on hand who can render first aid in case of an emergency. OSHA standard 1910.266 App A specifies the materials necessary for a workplace first-aid kit, including the number (and sizes) of gauze pads and bandages, tape, gloves, tweezers, splints and directions for requesting emergency assistance.
Having first aid materials available and staff that knows how to use them can make a huge difference for an injured employee. It is a critical component of providing adequate first aid in the workplace.
Certain OSHA standards require that employees not only be trained in first aid but also CPR. For example, CPR certification is required in facilities where a confined space permit is necessary, per OSHA standard 1910.146(k)(2)(iii). A confined space is a space that is large enough for an employee to enter and perform work but has limited or restricted means for entry or exit, such as a tank or storage bin (learn more in our earlier article, The Unexpected Dangers of Confined Spaces, and Confined Space Safety).
Regardless of OSHA regulations, knowing basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills are of great benefit to your team. We recommend you give your entire staff skills training, with ongoing refreshment of their skills every 6-12 months.
AED Availability and Training
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a medical device designed to analyze the heart rhythm and deliver an electric shock to ventricular fibrillation (cardiac arrest) victims to restore their heart rhythms to normal.
OSHA standards do not specifically address AEDs. However, these devices can be lifesavers—literally—especially in the hands of a trained staff member. It is estimated that 5 percent or less of victims of sudden cardiac deaths are successfully resuscitated and discharged alive from the hospital. Chances of survival from sudden cardiac death diminish by 7–10 percent for each minute without immediate CPR or defibrillation.
AED training, particularly when combined with CPR training, is a key to making your facility a safe one. Each state has different defibrillator use laws and regulations.
GMG EnviroSafe, Your First Call for First Aid in the Workplace
GMG EnviroSafe is the first place to call to ensure your team is aware and prepared to provide first aid in the workplace. With GMG EnviroSafe, you’ll find the courses, resources and expert know-how you need to meet OSHA standards. Our firsthand experience providing first aid information for auto repair and manufacturing facilities is unmatched. Contact GMG EnviroSafe to learn more!