Did you know that you are twice more likely to get hurt doing a job in New Zealand than doing the same one in Australia? Facts and figures gathered by the WorkSafe New Zealand show that health and safety records in New Zealand are two times worse than those in Australia.
Naturally, New Zealand is doing something about it and a new Health and Safety at Work Act was made in 2015. It is a good and honest attempt to make workplaces safer. In order for it to work, everybody needs to do their part.
One of the many things a business needs to do is to become First Aid compliant. Accidents happen from time to time, whatever you do to prevent them. Still, both prevention and being prepared for them makes all the difference between a safe and unsafe workplace.
Additionally, you risk a big fine for not being First Aid compliant. Therefore, here are some key points that every business needs to know about First Aid.
Three Things to Think About: First Aid Requirement Categories
There are three main factors you need to think about when you are trying to make your business First Aid compliant. Your workplace needs to have:
- First Aid Kits and facilities
- Trained first aiders (not all businesses need this)
- Properly displayed and distributed information about first aid arrangements for your employees
A number of necessary First Aid kits, facilities, trained first aiders and additional arrangements depend on many factors. Type of your business and number of employees are the most important ones.
The First Step: Assessing Your Workplace
In order to make your workplace safe, you need to conduct a proper assessment. To do that, you need to read and understand the Workplace First Aid Needs Assessment Checklist.
This checklist consists questions about factors that influence safety at your workplace. This includes:
- Likelihood of getting hurt or ill at your workplace
- Workplace specific hazards
- Number of workers
- Workers with disabilities or special needs
- Shifts, overtime and work hours
- Type of building
- Proximity of emergency services
Your assessment will help you determine the number and position of your Kits, their inventory, as well as the number of trained first aiders.
Number of First Aid Kits and Their Positions
Every workplace and every company vehicle need at least one First Aid Kit. You need one Kit for every 50 employees. Also, if you have a multi-level workplace, every floor needs its own Kit.
Place your First Aid Kits near hazardous areas at your workplace. Also, if you can, place it near a wash basin with hot and cold running water.
Remember that a wall-mounted First Aid Kit needs to be light enough to be carried by a single person. First Aid Kits need to be easily visible and properly marked.
Things You Must Have in a First Aid Kit
Your workplace Kit will be different than the one that you use for your vehicles. Also, when you assemble your Kit, take into account the specifics of your workplace and the hazards that are more likely to occur than others.
First Aid for Workplaces – A Good Practice Guide from 2011 suggests the following minimum of every First Aid Kit at a workplace:
- The First Aid Manual
- Saline solution or wet wipes
- 20 adhesive dressings in different sizes
- 2 eye pads
- 2 triangular bandages
- Safety pins or clasps
- 6 wound dressings, approximately 12 cm x 12 cm
- 2 wound dressings, approximately 18 cm x 18 cm
- 2 pairs of disposable gloves
- One resuscitation mask
Keep in mind that all wipes, pads, bandages and dressings need to be sterile and individually wrapped. In addition, dressings need to be unmedicated. This is just a suggestion and you should add the items according to your Assessment.
If you operate a high-risk business and you have over 100 employees, or if there are no emergency facilities nearby, consider setting up a First Aid Room.
Your Workplace First Aiders: Training and Certificates
Only certified organisations can offer First Aid training that is recognised by the HSWA.
Once obtained, the certificate is valid for two years. After those two years, the first aider should take a refresher course.
However, if the certificate has expired and the certificate holder has not attended the refresher course within 3 months, they need to take the entire course again.
Proper Way of Informing Employees About First Aid Arrangements
Informing your employees about the First Aid arrangements is just as important as having those arrangements. You need to know what to tell them and when to do it.
What to tell:
- Number and location of all First Aid Kits
- Number and location of all First Aiders
- Procedures to follow in case of emergency
- Location of the First Aid Room, if available
When to do it:
- When they first get the job or change jobs within company
- When something important changes about First Aid
- When they Once a year, just to remind them
Shortcut to Your First Aid Compliance
All this is can be quite overwhelming for a business owner. You should read through everything that NSWA recommends, but you should also consult somebody that makes First Aid their business. Alsco is the ace up your sleeve when it comes to First Aid compliance.
You get to rent managed First Aid Kits that are absolutely compliant with current laws. Alsco maintains them, restocks them, takes care of them and checks up on them.
All that – only one fee.