All about aid for minor injuries
Employers need to ensure that the workplace is a zero harm zone … They are, unfortunately, faced with another reality – incidents do occur. According to Occupational Health & Safety Training (OHST), a company that lives up to its name, the employer has a duty of care and needs to ensure that an affected employee is provided with the proper level of treatment.
Occupational harm can include near misses; minor injuries; lost-time; disabling injuries; or, sadly, fatalities. OHST provides some useful information on first-aid treatment that is usually administered for minor injuries:
According to the General Safety Regulations (GSR) 3 (4) of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act, 85 of 1993, employers must ensure that competent first-aid people are appointed to deal with minor injuries. These people must be trained by an institute that is approved by the Department of Labour and must have a valid certificate or carry card. These have a validity period of three years, whereafter the first aider has to be retrained.
Employers also need to ensure that their first-aid kits, with the necessary contents, are strategically positioned within the workplace. The contents of the first-aid kit must meet the minimum requirements as per the Annexure in the GSR.
Additional first-aid equipment, over and above the minimum requirements, may also be included – depending on the nature of the incidents that are most likely to occur in a certain work area. For example, if there’s the possibility of large lacerations or amputations in a certain area – where blades or saws are frequently used – then a blood-spill kit and trauma pads would be a great addition to a standard first-aid kit.
For organisations that handle or use hazardous chemical substances, an eye-wash fountain and emergency shower should be available and operable. First aiders must also have access to the relevant Material Safety Data Sheet (a document that contains information on the potential health effects of exposure to chemicals) in order to effectively treat these types of medical incidents and prevent them from becoming worse.
Department of Labour inspectors may visit your site at any time to verify compliance with regard to this regulation. But compliance could mean a lot more than just keeping out of trouble …