Incorporating coronavirus into your first aid policy
Whilst at most times it’s possible to maintain a physical distance within the workplace, there are exceptions to the rule, and one of those is when first aid treatment is given. However, there’s little choice but to provide help when it’s needed. If businesses are open, adequate first aid provision must be made, and this means that first aiders need to be equipped to carry out the task safely. Our First Aid at Work Policy describes your arrangements for complying with the latest good practice as published by the HSE (see The next step ).
Our policy begins with a general statement of policy which confirms that you’ll provide sufficient first aid personnel, equipment and facilities for the needs of your staff and visitors. This is followed by a summary of legislation in part two, where we’ve emphasised that your assessment of first aid needs must include coronavirus safety measures alongside other factors such as the potential for accidents and proximity to medical services.
Note. Most employers choose to include the treatment of visitors and others although the minimum legal requirement is to provide cover for workers alone.
Section three describes the responsibilities of those who respond to incidents whether they are qualified first aiders or appointed persons. The first two bullet points state that first aiders are responsible for responding promptly when asked, and protecting themselves as a first priority.
Procedures and training
The fourth part of our document encourages you to include a few lines about mental health first aiders if you’ve chosen to appoint them. Part five covers procedures. Here we’ve given practical details of what to do during a first aid incident, such as whether an ambulance should be called, the precautions to take if car sharing to attend a minor injuries clinic, and the specific sequence to follow if someone falls ill at work.
The policy finishes with details of the information to provide to employees and the first aid equipment and facilities you should have in place.
Tip. Instruct first aiders and management that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus whilst at work must go home as soon as possible. Whilst waiting they should be asked to stay in an isolated area away from others.
Tip. You should provide a short briefing to first aiders on the additional precautions they should take to prevent transmission of coronavirus.
Tip. Instruction for first aiders should include wearing PPE before giving treatment in close contact, e.g. a fluid-repellent surgical mask, disposable gloves, goggles or a face shield and a disposable apron. Rescue breaths are not advised when treating adult casualties during the pandemic, but a resuscitation face mask should be available should the first aider feel that the risks are acceptable.