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close this bookThe Organization of First Aid in the Workplace (ILO, 1999, 70 p.)
close this folder3. Responsibilities and participation
Open this folder and view contents3.1. Responsibilities of the employer
View the document3.2. Workers’ participation

3.2. Workers’ participation

Without full participation of the workers, first aid cannot be effective. Workers’ participation can take many forms, some of which are as follows:

Workers may need to cooperate in rescue and first-aid operations, if this is demanded by rescue or first-aid personnel or by occupational safety and health staff. They should, in particular, assist in transporting victims as required. Workers do not usually consider that such participation is beyond their duty.

All workers should be informed about first-aid arrangements. The employer should organize briefings for all workers. The following are essential parts of the briefing:

- the organization of first aid in the enterprise;

- colleagues who have been appointed as first-aid personnel;

- ways in which information about an accident should be communicated, and to whom;

- location of the first-aid box;

- location of the first-aid room;

- location of the rescue equipment;

- what the workers must do in case of an accident;

- location of the escape routes;

- workers’ actions following an accident;

- ways of supporting first-aid personnel in their task.

Written instructions about first aid, preferably in the form of posters, should be displayed by the employer at strategic places within the enterprise. Workers should read these instructions carefully and seek clarification if the information provided is unclear or seemingly inadequate. They should make suggestions, based on their knowledge of the workplace, as to what additional information may usefully be communicated to all workers.

Usually many workers are willing to be trained in first aid and to be registered or appointed as first-aid personnel. However, some have reasons not to do so because of their own health, or because of emotional problems when dealing with the casualty of an accident. The employer should explain to the workers the reasons why they are being selected for first aid. Persons selected have a right to insist that, if they are appointed, the employer must do whatever necessary to protect their health and safety from any hazards to which they may be exposed as first-aid personnel under conditions of higher, unusual or special risks.2

Workers should report any accident to which they are exposed, irrespective of how serious the injury seems to be at first sight. All employees should adopt safe behaviour standards at work, and make use of the information provided to them by the employer on occupational safety and health, including first aid, with a view to contributing to the prevention of future accidents.


1 P. Barr“Le secourisme en milieu de travail”, in Cahiers de Notes Documentaires - Sritt hygi du travail (Paris), No. 96, 1979.

2 For example, guidelines for AIDS and first aid in the workplace are being prepared by the World Health Organization in cooperation with the ILO. Editor’s note: Guidelines on AIDS and first aid in the workplace, WHO AIDS Series No. 7 (Geneva, WHO, 1990) has since been published.