Few people go to work expecting to perform CPR, treat wounds, soothe burns or deal with diabetic shock, but startling new statistics suggest that there’s a high chance they might just have to.
According to the Labour Force Survey, a staggering 621,000 injuries occurred at work between 2015 and 2016; a further 1.3 million working people suffered from a work-related illness. Since last year, some 137 deaths at work have also been reported to RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations).
The question, says first aid training provider ABC Worksafe, is therefore not if first aid will be needed at work but when. In a moment of crisis, business owners have a duty of care to help their employees, clients or customers – which means first aid training is of paramount importance.
More sobering statistics from Thomson Reuters demonstrate what happens if corporations fail to comply. Total corporate fines for health and safety breaches increased by 43% to £54m this year, and corporate fines averaged £280,974. Figures like that suggest that if an accident occurs at work and the adequate health and safety preparations have not been made, a business can be placed in serious financial turmoil.
Paul Lane, managing director of ABC Worksafe, says he also stresses to clients that first aid makes financial sense. “The government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that 30.4 million working days are lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury,” said Paul. “Though the initial outlay of a first-aid course might not always fit in with your financial plan right now, you can bet it’ll work out cheaper than the alternative in the long run.”
The solution, according to Paul, is knowing your company’s first aid requirements inside-out. The kind of training needed for each workplace varies considerably according to the level of risk employees encounter day-to-day.
Last year, for instance, ABC Worksafe teamed up with St Barnabas Hospice and Chestnut Tree House to design five bespoke Emergency First Aid at Work sessions to educate workers in their charity shops.
Training focused on informing staff about their legal responsibilities, including how to deal with incidents such as CPR, choking, seizures, wounds, burns and more – all potential health & safety risks when working in close range with the general public.
Fortunately, since training took place, the charity’s members have only had to deal with a few cuts and grazes. However, Jan Harper, Head of Retail for St Barnabas and Chestnut Tree House, said staff felt confident about handling a more serious first aid incident at work.
“The safety and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and visitors is paramount,” Jan said. “Across all areas of our retail operation, we’ve had a really positive response to the training. ABC Worksafe provided a fun, interactive and highly informative course and staff tell us they have already been able to call on their training outside of the workplace, which is great to hear.”
Paul Lane added: “St Barnabas & Chestnut Tree House are fantastic charities that provide crucial palliative care to the community, so we were delighted to be able to help staff and volunteers feel safer and more confident while they do such important work.
The training courses really underscored the importance of first aid courses – the widely acknowledged statistic is that 2/3 of people couldn’t save a life so it’s not just about teaching people what to do when something goes wrong, but also increasing their awareness so they can act responsibly and share their knowledge with others.”