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close this bookThe Organization of First Aid in the Workplace (ILO, 1999, 70 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPreface
Open this folder and view contents1. Why first aid and the organization of first aid?
View the document2. What first aid must do
Open this folder and view contents3. Responsibilities and participation
Open this folder and view contents4. How first aid is organized
Open this folder and view contents5. The training of first-aid personnel
View the document6. Relation to other health-related services
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexes
View the documentOccupational Safety and Health Series
View the documentBack cover
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2. What first aid must do

In Chapter 1, the need for first aid and for an organized approach to first aid was discussed. No matter how satisfactory the working conditions, there will always be the possibility that an accident will occur and that immediate help will be needed before the arrival of medically qualified persons. The frequency of accidents will depend on many factors, including the number of workers and the standard of safety in the enterprise, and the occupational hazards at the workplace. Other factors should also be taken into account in the organization of first aid: the type of work, the operations carried out and the kinds of injury encountered; the size and layout of the enterprise; the availability and the capacity of the occupational health service and the public health service. This will be discussed in Chapter 4.

It is expected that “what first aid must do” will vary from country to country, because of differences in labour laws, health care systems, occupational health infrastructure, and so on. Requirements concerning first aid and programmes to train first-aid personnel also differ. Based on the experience available, the tasks to be performed by first aid may be summarized as follows:

(a) to protect the victim against further harm;

(b) to make a quick initial assessment of the need to call for further help and medical assistance, and to ascertain that this need is fulfilled as rapidly as possible;

(c) to provide immediate and temporary care with the aim of saving life and minimizing the consequences of injury until help from medically qualified personnel is available;

(d) to provide essential treatment of minor injuries which would otherwise receive no treatment.

In the light of these tasks, a number of requirements must be met. First aid should:

(a) be available and operate at the worksite;

(b) be based on human resources and equipment, supplies and facilities available in or near the locations with a high potential for accidents;

(c) have access to means of communication and emergency transportation;

(d) be recorded and reported so as to provide information for follow-up medical care, improvement of safety conditions at work and workers’ compensation;

(e) contribute to the health and safety behaviour of workers and thus the prevention of accidents.