In a recent survey carried out by St John’s Ambulance it was found that a third of all UK employees are concerned that there may be insufficient first aid cover in their workplace.
The charity found that many businesses are not equipped to handle a first aid emergency, with 50% of employers lacking any formal process for assessing first aid needs such as a risk assessment policy being in place.
The concerns also highlighted that 80% of people have found themselves at work with no first aid cover whatsoever.
Richard Evens, director of training and marketing at St John Ambulance, said: “Every employee deserves to feel safe in their working environment and ensuring there are enough first aiders in the event of an emergency is paramount. The fact that over one third of employees fear they don’t have enough first aiders at work is quite concerning.”
According to St John Ambulance, too many people lack the skills to cope in an emergency, with less than 20% knowing even basic first aid, which could be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.
The survey also revealed that in manufacturing 40% of employees have been present when a colleague needed first aid (although the most accident prone sector was the agricultural, forestry and fishing industry, where almost 30% of workers have lost a colleague to an accident that could have prevented by adequate first aid).
Evens said: “Employers need to remember that one first aider is rarely enough. If that first aider goes on holiday or is taken ill, the workplace is left vulnerable. They should also remember that learning first aid at work doesn’t just make workplaces safer but also benefits family, friends and strangers too with so many first aiders using their skills outside of work.”
All employees have the right to work in a place where risks to health and safety are controlled in order to prevent you getting hurt or ill through work.
It is your right, as an employee, to have access to adequate first aid facilities, suitable and sufficient toilets, washing facilities and drinking water.
This can include having the right number of first aid kits and qualified first aiders in relation to the number of staff at a company.
This requirement will differ from business to business depending on the layout of the building, number of staff employed and the type of work they carry out.
What is your responsibility for health and safety as an employee?
As an employee you have responsibilities for health and safety in the workplace. All employees must work together in order to create a safe working environment. You should take responsibility for your actions within the workplace and the implications they can have for you, your colleagues and your environment. Did you know…In Great Britain 629,000 injuries occurred at work in 2013/14 according to the Labour Force Survey? (HSE) This figure shows you just how important it is for employees to look out for each other in the workplace. As an employee you have certain stated responsibilities, these are to:
Follow all training that has been given to you when using any work items your employer has provided you with. This ensures that all equipment is used safely in order to minimise risk to yourself and your colleagues and also includes the correct use of any personal protective equipment, in accordance with training or instructions.
Take reasonable care of your own and other people’s health and safety in the workplace ensuring that risk to everyone is minimised. Others may be affected by what you do or don’t do so it is really important to always be aware of reducing any potential risks to health and safety. This can include the safe storage of your possessions, arranging for the clean-up of spillages and being vigilant at all times to remove or report any hazards.
Co-operate with your employers arrangements for ensuring health and safety in the workplace at all times.
What are your employer’s responsibilities for Health and Safety in the workplace?
Your employer has primary responsibility for health and safety in the workplace, this means they must decide what risks there are to your health and safety and implement ways of mitigating against or completely eliminate these risks – this should take the form of a risk assessment.
Employers must explain how risks to you are being controlled and who the responsibility for controlling these risks belongs to. Employers are responsible for consulting with health and safety representatives and all employees regarding protecting everyone in the workplace from harm. This means that your employer must consult with you regarding how to protect you from anything that they have assessed as a potential risk to you in the workplace.
The HSE set out specific guidelines to eliminate any risk or situation of insufficient first aid cover.
As a minimum, a low-risk workplace such as a small office should have a first-aid box and a person appointed to take charge of first-aid arrangements, such as calling the emergency services if necessary.
Employers must provide information about first-aid arrangements to their employees. Workplaces where there are more significant health and safety risks are more likely to need a trained first-aider. A first-aid needs assessment will help employers decide what first aid arrangements are appropriate for their workplace.
For more information on our mandatory first aid courses please click on the links below: