As we are all aware social distancing is at the heart of reducing the spread of Coronavirus but there are some situations when close physical contact is unavoidable and one of those is the administration of first aid.
The advice from the Health and Safety Executive will help employers support first aiders in caring for injured or ill people at work during the Coronavirus pandemic. Regarding CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation), the HSE advises the specific guidance given by the Resuscitation Council UK should be considered and can be seen here. Likewise for those working in the emergency services, specific advice is available from employers based on their jobs and the risks faced.
Many employers have carried out risk assessments on working during the pandemic and it is suggested that first aid at work is also considered. Work with your first aiders to understand new risks and issues which need to be managed so that they are confident in providing first aid safely and effectively. Certain equipment may be available to reduce the risk of infection such as PPE
Now may also be a good time for employers to look at first aid qualifications, maybe you need to organise for multiple staff to be qualified in case of absences. If first aid cover is reduced because of the pandemic or first aid training is unavailable you can do some things so that you still comply with the law –
- Share first aid cover with another business. Shared first aiders must know about the types of injuries they may have to deal with (identified in a first aid needs assessment), have the training and skills to manage them and know about your work environment and the first aid facilities. They must also be able to reach a potential patient in need.
- If fewer people are coming into the workplace then it may be safe to operate with reduced first aid cover.
- If first aid training certificates run out a temporary extension may be available but this must be a last resort!
- Online refresher courses may be available and are worth considering if possible
Find out more – Health and Safety Executive Website