Cover Image
close this bookThe Organization of First Aid in the Workplace (ILO, 1999, 70 p.)
close this folder1. Why first aid and the organization of first aid?
View the document1.1. What is first aid?
View the document1.2. The need to prevent accidents
View the document1.3. If an accident occurs
View the document1.4. An organized approach to first aid

1.2. The need to prevent accidents

We must keep in mind that the effective approach to the protection of the health and life of workers against the consequences of an accident at work is the prevention of the accident.

Prevention is always better than cure: a widow’s pension cannot replace the dead husband, nor will any compensation restore sight to a person who remains blind following an accident at work. Yet accidents cannot be completely ruled out, and first aid should be considered an integral part of the overall approach to safeguarding the lives of workers and to reducing their residual health impairment or disability to the lowest possible level.

In accident prevention, management’s involvement and workers’ participation are essential to reducing the frequency and severity of accidents. All workers should be given information on hazards at work and on their prevention. This information must be provided by the employer, and workers must observe and comply with safety instructions given to them. Progress towards the prevention of accidents rests on a combination of preventive measures taken by the employer and of safe behaviour by workers.

This monograph will not describe what accidents are, and how they occur, nor what is safe or what is a hazard or a risk at work. It is nevertheless noteworthy from various sources2 that accidents at work claim many lives each year and cause severe loss of income and production. The causes, frequency and severity of accidents vary greatly among industries, occupations and countries, and between industrialized and developing countries. Accidents in general are more frequent in smaller enterprises than in larger ones; accident rates are higher in developing than in industrialized countries; and more accidents are reported in construction, mining, diving, fishing and agriculture than in manufacturing.