Functional first aid

Functional first aid

First-aid training is not something to be taken lightly. The Order of St John explains

The importance of having competently trained first aiders in the work environment cannot be stressed enough _ that’s why it is a legal requirement in South Africa.

In any working environment, employees (and even customers) can become injured or fall ill while performing their work. It is important that they receive fast and appropriate first-aid treatment to prevent the injury or illness from worsening _ simply put, it can make the difference between life and death.

The upside to investing in your employees’ safety through first-aid training is that they become more safety conscious and more alert regarding potential hazards in the workplace.  

What skills do people learn during basic first-aid training?

The most important rule of performing first aid is to do it safely! Emergency scenes can be filled with potential hazards. Once the first aider has taken control of the scene and assessed each casualty for life-threatening injuries, casualty care can begin based on the severity of each individual’s injuries.

Functional first aidA basic first-aid course, referred to by the Department of Labour as Level 1 training, will equip the first aider with the skills necessary to provide emergency scene management and to treat medical emergencies including: unconsciousness, suspected spinal injuries, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), severe bleeding, burns, and medical conditions such as seizures, diabetic emergencies and allergic reactions.

What should people ask about a company providing first-aid training?

• Is it registered with the Department of Labour?

• Is the course recognised internationally?

• Does the course offer the right balance of theory and practical training?

• Is the training suitable for learners with limited reading and writing skills?

• Is the training in line with your company’s particular risk register?

• Are the instructors regularly monitored and evaluated?

• Is the company registered with the Resuscitation Council of SA to ensure current CPR protocols are being taught?

How has first-aid training evolved over the years?

Other than resuscitation protocols, which are set internationally by ILCOR every five years, very little change has taken place. However, first-aid training organisations need to familiarise themselves with industry changes, so as to provide the necessary, specialised first-aid training for these sectors.  

What trends, within the first-aid training sphere, are you most excited about at the moment?

E-learning benefits both employer and employee _ the employee gains valuable skills at times convenient to them and the employer has less downtime while employees are off site and sitting in the classroom.

First-aid training can no longer be viewed as the “poor relative” by employers and staff. It is an essential skill and more important than ever _ not only for compliance, but because it is included as a foundation skill in more and more qualifications.

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SHEQ Management

SHEQ MANAGEMENT is the definitive source for reliable, accurate and pertinent information to guarantee environmental health and safety in the workplace.
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