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close this bookThe Organization of First Aid in the Workplace (ILO, 1999, 70 p.)
close this folderAnnexes
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex I. Examples of first-aid legislation
View the documentAnnex II. Be ready for emergencies1
View the documentAnnex III. Rescue equipment: An example
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex IV. First-aid boxes
View the documentAnnex V. Antidotes: Some useful examples

Annex II. Be ready for emergencies1

1 J.E. Thurman, A.E. Louzine and K. Kogi: Higher productivity and a better place to work: Practical ideas for owners and managers of small and medium-sized industrial enterprises, Action manual (Geneva, ILO, 1988), pp. 74-75.

Accidents happen. Emergencies can include cuts and bruises, eye injuries, burns, poisoning and electric shocks. Even in enterprises which seem safe, many types of injury (such as falls) can occur. Every enterprise should therefore have a well-stocked first-aid box and at least one person present at all times of operation who knows what to do in emergencies.

First-aid boxes should be clearly marked and located so that they are readily accessible in an emergency. They should not be more than 100 m from any worksite. Ideally, such kits should be near a wash-basin and in good lighting conditions. Their supplies need to be regularly checked and replenished. The contents of a first-aid box are often regulated by law, with variations according to the size and likely industrial hazards of the enterprise. A typical basic kit may include the following items in a dustproof and waterproof box:

- sterile bandages, pressure bandages, dressings (gauze pads) and slings. These should be individually wrapped and placed in a dustproof box or bag. You will need small, medium and large sizes. Be sure to have sufficient quantities, especially of the commonly used sizes. Small cuts and burns should not go untreated. You will also need medical adhesive tape (strip plaster) for fixing bandages and dressings;

- cotton wool for cleaning wounds;

- scissors, tweezers (for splinters) and safety pins;

- an eye bath and eye wash bottle;

- ready-to-use antiseptic solution and cream;

- simple over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin and antacids; and

- a booklet or leaflet giving advice on first-aid treatment.

A portable first-aid kit may be useful when work is done outside the factory. It should contain cotton wool, adhesive dressing strips, sterile wound dressings, gauze bandages, triangular bandages, antiseptic cream, safety pins and small scissors.

First aid requires some training, but this is not difficult to arrange in most places. The names and location (including telephone number) of first-aiders should be put on a notice-board. Workers in remote or isolated areas should be given additional training in first aid to take account of the probable long delays in obtaining medical aid in the event of an emergency.

The procedure for obtaining medical assistance in an emergency should be known by all workers. Small establishments without their own facilities should keep contact with a nearby clinic or hospital so that the time between the occurrence of an accident and medical assistance is very short, preferably much less than 30 minutes. Transport to the clinic or hospital should also be prearranged. An outside ambulance may be called in, if necessary. It is always desirable to have a stretcher.