Cover Image
close this bookThe Organization of First Aid in the Workplace (ILO, 1999, 70 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPreface
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
View the document2. What first aid must do
close this folder3. Responsibilities and participation
close this folder3.1. Responsibilities of the employer
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View the document3.1.1. Equipment, supplies and facilities
View the document3.1.2. Human resources
View the document3.1.3. Other
View the document3.2. Workers’ participation
close this folder4. How first aid is organized
close this folder4.1. Variables to be considered in the assessment of first-aid requirements
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View the document4.1.1. Type of work and associated risks
View the document4.1.2. Size and layout of the enterprise
View the document4.1.3. Other enterprise characteristics
View the document4.1.4. Availability of other health services
close this folder4.2. First aid in the context of the general organization of safety and health in the enterprise
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View the document4.2.1. Occupational health services
View the document4.2.2. Safety and health committees and safety delegates
View the document4.2.3. The labour inspectorate
View the document4.2.4. Other institutions
close this folder4.3. First-aid personnel
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View the document4.3.1. Functional tasks
View the document4.3.2. Type and number of first-aid personnel required
View the document4.3.3. Advice to, and supervision of, first-aid personnel
View the document4.4. The role of the occupational health physician or nurse
close this folder4.5. Equipment, supplies and facilities for first aid
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View the document4.5.1. Rescue equipment
View the document4.5.2. First-aid boxes, first-aid kits and similar containers
View the document4.5.3. Specialized equipment and supplies
View the document4.5.4. The first-aid room
View the document4.5.5. Means for communicating the alert
View the document4.6. Planning for access to additional care
View the document4.7. Records
close this folder5. The training of first-aid personnel
View the document5.1. General considerations
close this folder5.2. Basic training
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View the document5.2.1. General
View the document5.2.2. Delivery of first aid
View the document5.3. Advanced training
View the document5.4. Training material and institutions
View the document5.5. Certification
View the document6. Relation to other health-related services
close this folderAnnexes
close this folderAnnex I. Examples of first-aid legislation
View the document1. New Zealand
View the document2. United Kingdom
View the document3. Federal Republic of Germany
View the documentAnnex II. Be ready for emergencies1
View the documentAnnex III. Rescue equipment: An example
close this folderAnnex IV. First-aid boxes
View the document1. Belgium
View the document2. India
View the document3. New Zealand
View the document4. United Kingdom
View the documentAnnex V. Antidotes: Some useful examples
View the documentOccupational Safety and Health Series
View the documentBack cover

1.3. If an accident occurs

Despite preventive action, accidents do happen. This is unfortunate, but true at many workplaces. Most injuries at work are not severe or life-threatening. This fact should not be overlooked when first aid is discussed. It is clear that when a hand is severed in an accident with a chainsaw, rapid first aid to stop the bleeding and deal with shock is imperative, and further emergency treatment should follow as soon as possible. However, for one such case there are many minor cases, for example, persons suffering simple cuts or contusions which need unsophisticated treatment (for example, disinfection, sterilized dressing, checking that immunization against tetanus is valid). Immediately available first aid is an essential service in situations where no health personnel are available. However, it must be emphasized that professional medical care may still be needed on the day or the days that follow. First-aid personnel must clearly point out that injured persons should always take it upon themselves to consult a physician so that the necessary treatment is given under medical supervision.

The case described in the preceding paragraph is consistent with the primary health care approach referred to in the preface.3 This involves the treatment of a common injury by an immediately available first-aider, health education and the acceptance by the individual of responsibility for his or her own health, including possible referral for more advanced medical care. The approach emphasizes the need to combine the delivery of first aid with advice and information to the worker on follow-up actions and professional medical care required.

Some generalizations may be made regarding accidents at work and the severity of injuries. It appears that the most common causes of injuries are found in rather ordinary events like stumbling, falling, the handling of materials, the use of tools or being struck by falling objects. However, when planning for first aid, primary attention should be paid to manifestations in the victims of an accident rather than the accident itself. These include, in particular, crushed and broken bones and joints, bleeding, shock, respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest, burns including chemical burns, other skin injuries or eye injuries. Therefore, first aid needs specific knowledge about these common manifestations.