First Aid Risk Assessing and First Aiders

Assessing The Risk

A Risk Assessment makes a study of everything in use in a Practice and decides what might happen if an accident occurs. For example, if there is a kettle then there is a risk that someone will suffer burns, if there is a staircase then there is a risk that someone may fall down those stairs, if work requires chemicals then there is a risk that someone may splash some in their eye and/or suffer burns, and so on.

When formulating a Risk Assessment, the risks identified are then taken to their lowest level to minimize the level of risk associated with them. For instance, the use of a kettle may have to be placed on a surface of a sensible height so that the user isn’t lifting it from above eye level. The employer may even consider another form of wall mounted hot water supply less dangerous for the user and install one.

With a staircase, the employer would have to consider fitting a hand rail on both sides and place signs warning people of the dangers, suggesting that they hold onto the rails.

With chemicals, the employer would insist that PPE is worn (glasses) to protect the eyes from harm.

By law, every Practice has to have a written Risk Assessment and every employee must read it as part of their induction within the first week of employment, even locum staff.

How Many First Aiders

It is the employer that must create the written Risk Assessment on the building and type of work done in it and to then decide how many staff to train and to what level.

Prior to 2011, the HSE indicated to employers how many First Aiders they must provide. Since 2011, the HSE has stated that employers must now decide for themselves. Therefore, if something happens in the workplace it is the employer who may face prosecution, not the HSE.

With the risks in mind the employer has to decide how many First Aiders will be needed and to what level they must be trained. It is no use having one First Aider because they will have annual leave and sickness, leaving the company without cover. There is also shift patterns to consider.

In a Dental Practice the prime concerns are falls and trips which may result in anything from a bruise to a broken limb or severe head injury. All of the staff are trained to deal with Medical Emergencies, but what about burns, broken legs/arms and head injuries? The level of risk will be higher if there is a staircase.

First Aid Training

Currently there are two different levels of First Aid training. The highest level is a three day course called First Aid at Work (FAW) qualification. The next level is a six hour course called Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) qualification which covers the basic topics such as CPR, bleeding/bandaging, choking, burns and the Recovery Position.

It is worth noting that there is a tremendous difference between the two courses.

First Aid 'Are You Safe?'

Extract from The Health & Safety Executive

‘The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 requires employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. These regulations apply to all workplaces including those with less than five employees and to the self-employed.’

Ask yourself the following?

  • Have you carried out a risk assessment of the practice to identify the need for a first aider?
  • Do you have an accident book?
  • Have you reviewed previous accident records?
  • Highlight the risks within the practice – e.g. flying debris, scolds and burns, trips, slips and falls.
  • Do you have control measures to reduce risks?
  • Do you have good systems to manage health and safety?
  • Do you investigate all accidents and incidents?
  • Do you make accurate notes when accidents occur?
  • Do you have adequate provisions for first aid?
  • If you do not have a qualified first aider would your team be confident to handle the situation?

First Aid Equipment

The minimum level for first aid equipment is a fully stocked first aid box containing the following:

  • Assorted wash-proof plasters
  • Sterile eye pad with bandage
  • Non-woven triangular bandages
  • Safety pins
  • Medium sterile dressings
  • Large sterile dressings
  • Assortment of bandages
  • Sterile saline cleansing wipes
  • 2 pair of disposable gloves
  • Eye wash station
  • Micro porous tape
  • Sterile saline eye pods

There should be one first aid box for each workplace and the first aid box should be regularly checked for expiry dates and items which need replacing.

RIDDOR (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013)

Under Health and Safety law certain injuries, incidents and workrelated diseases must be reported under RIDDOR

The practice should keep records of accidents and injuries to identify patterns. This should be audited by the practice manager and accidents and incidents should be discussed with the team after the event.

First Aid Check

Kit should include:

  • Assorted Washproof Plasters
  • Sterile Eye Pad with Bandage
  • Non Woven Triangular Bandage
  • Safety Pins
  • Medium Sterile Dressings (12x12)
  • Large Sterile Dressings (18x18)
  • Assortment of bandages
  • Sterile Saline Cleansing Wipes
  • 2 Pair of Disposable Gloves
  • Eye wash station

Optional additions to the kit:

  • Micro Porous
  • Tape Sterile saline eye pods for eye washing

Please Note:
There is no minimum or maximum requirement for the contents of the first aid kit. The Health and Safety Executive suggest that a work place risk assessment is carried out to assess the first aid requirements for the practice.
A first aid sticker or sign is required to identify the location of the kit.

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