83% Do not know where the first aid kid is
Do you know where is is? You’re not alone: Most workers don’t even know what’s inside the kit when they get there.
Five out of six British workers have no idea where their workplace first aid kit is located, and even more don’t have a clue what to do once they’ve found it.
That’s the incredible findings of a UK health and safety consultancy which has uncovered a massive gap in first aid knowledge and training across the British workforce.
UK based Protecting.co.uk says that companies should do more to hammer home the simple steps to ensure that workplace incidents are dealt with smartly and quickly by people who know what they’re doing.
“If you don’t know where your first aid box is, you don’t deserve to be working there,” is the hard-hitting message of Protecting.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall. “You’re literally putting yourself and your colleagues at risk by not knowing.”
Finding the big green box
Protecting.co.uk spoke to over 750 workers in British offices, factories, garages and other workplaces and found:
• 83% did not know where their first aid box was located
• 92% could not describe the contents of a first aid box beyond “sticking plasters and bandages”
• Only 1% said they knew first aid, or had been on a first aid course
Mark Hall of Protecting.co.uk: “These figures are truly shocking and represent a huge gap in first aid knowledge among British workers.
“Of course, the most serious thing that 99% of first aid boxes are used for is a plaster for cut finger, but everybody needs to know what to do, where to look, and how to act in case something worse happens.
“Companies need to make sure first aid knowledge is part of their induction process for new staff, along with regular refreshers.”
“And workplaces need to up their ratio of qualified first aiders – the more the better.”
The trouble is that a significant number of people think they’ll know what to do if there’s an accident that requires a first aider:
• 12% of those asked thought that watching Casualty and other medical dramas on TV gave them a significant grounding in emergency medicine.
“It does not,” says Mark Hall. “It gives you a significant grounding in television drama.”
Hall points out that the idea of a first aid course can easily be sold to potential volunteers through the promise of time away from the workplace to earn their qualification.
“Who doesn’t enjoy a couple of days out of the office tying other people up in bandages and practicing CPR on a Resucsi-Anne doll?
“That’s living the dream, and you get a certificate at the end.”
What’s in a first aid box?
If you got “plasters and bandages” – congratulations, you’ve made a start on the happy voyage into first aid knowledge.
What people do not know is that the workplace first aid kit is kept as simple as possible to make sure that nobody tries anything that is beyond their capabilities.
The standard first aid kit should contain:
• Contents list and basic first aid advice leaflet
• Sterile gauze dressings
• Triangular and crepe bandages
• Finger dressings and dressings for burns
• Safety pins
• Sterile eye pads
• Eye wash and eye bath
• Plasters, wipes and adhesive tape
• Disposable gloves
• Face shield for mouth-to-mouth
• Distilled water
• Tweezers and scissors
First aid kits in the construction industry, for childcare, and for food service may contain variations. But all come with one important warning:
Mark Hall – “If it looks serious, call 999 immediately.”
“Emergency crews genuinely don’t mind coming out to a false alarm that’s been called in good faith – and 999 phone operators are trained to offer life-saving advice and reassurance while the ambulance is on its way.”
First Aid is an important skill to have in the workplace. With any luck you could go your entire career without needing to use it – but it’s a skill that could save a colleague’s life should the worst happen.