5.1. General considerations
It has previously been noted that first-aid personnel are people
on the spot, generally workers who are familiar with the specific conditions of
work, and that they are not medically qualified but must be trained and prepared
to perform very specific tasks. Besides the selection of the people to be
appointed, the training of first-aid personnel is the single most important
factor determining the effectiveness of organized first aid.
Not every worker will be suitable to be trained for providing
first aid. Potential first-aiders should be motivated, and should possess a high
level of comprehension and an ability to make decisions. They should be
emotionally stable and able to cope with human beings in a crisis situation.
They must be reliable. Employers must carefully and responsibly select first-aid
personnel in accordance with these criteria. In the process they should seek
cooperation and advice from the occupational health physician or nurse, if
available, from the health and safety committee and, as appropriate, from
outside physicians or other health personnel.
Training first-aid personnel once is not enough. Refresher
training will be necessary from time to time. All this will take time and cost
money. A prerequisite for success is that the persons selected are willing to
give at least some of their free time. However, most of the time needed for
training and retraining first-aid personnel, and the time spent on drills and
other activities related to first aid, is usually made part of working time.
Training programmes will depend on many factors, including the
variables discussed in section 4.1, especially the type of work and the
associated risk involved. Ultimately, however, the programmes must respond to
the functional tasks to be fulfilled by first-aid personnel.
A distinction was made in subsection 4.3.2 between two types of
first-aid personnel (basic and advanced), depending on the likely complexity and
severity of the situations they may have to deal with. This implies that their
training also involved two levels:
(a) a basic programme of training adapted to the
needs of all first-aiders, which will normally suffice for situations
involving low risks at work;
(b) an advanced programme of training for situations involving
higher, unusual or special risks. This programme would address the tasks of the
advanced-level first-aider and would be a supplement to, and not a substitute
for, the basic programme of