Injuries at work
The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure that employees receive immediate first aid if they are injured or become ill at work. There’s no legally mandated minimum when it comes to these provisions, but employers are obligated to carry out a needs assessment to match their preparedness with their number of employees and level of risk.
There are however recommendations on the contents of workplace first aid kits in the form of the British Standard BS 8599, which is suggested as best practice by the Health and Safety Executive. If you’re in any doubt about whether your level of first aid provision is enough, then aim to go above and beyond what is strictly necessary: your employees will thank you for it.
First aid equipment, supplies and trained personnel is important for any workplace, and workplace injuries remain commonplace. Although deaths are rare, according to the Labour Force Survey (LSF) in 2016/17 there were approximately 609,000 self-reported non-fatal injuries to workers. 175,000 of these resulted in more than 7 days of sickness absence. 20% of these injuries resulted from handling, lifting or carrying, 18% were from slips, trips and falls at the same level, and 9% were from blows by moving, flying or falling objects. These are injuries that could happen in virtually any workplace.
Browse our range of BS 8599 compliant workplace first aid kits.
Accidents on the road
A large number of UK workers are either employed to drive as their main duty or are otherwise required to drive as part of their job. There are 1.4 million people employed in the transport and storage sector alone in Great Britain. Anyone who has to drive as part of their job should be provided with adequate first aid supplies, too.
In 2016, there were 181,384 injuries on British roads, with 24,101 of these being serious and 1,792 fatalities. Due to the speeds and forces involved, road accidents are more likely to lead to serious injury than almost any other, making first aid supplies even more crucial. Road accidents can often be difficult to reach for emergency services, and a first aid kit could be the key to preventing death by blood loss before emergency services arrive.
It isn’t a legal requirement for UK drivers to carry a first aid kit, so employees driving commercial vehicles could, especially if trained, be the first at the scene of an accident to be able to offer a hand, even if they aren’t involved in the accident directly themselves.
Browse our range of BS 8599-2 compliant vehicle first aid kits.
Does your workplace have a defibrillator?
Each year there are over 30,000 cardiac arrests outside of hospital. This could strike anyone at any time, but is more common in the middle aged and elderly. With the UK’s ageing workforce, there’s a strong case for all workplaces, especially those with a large number of employees, to consider purchasing life-saving equipment for cardiac arrests.
The survival rate for cardiac arrest outside of hospital is just 8%, but, if use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED) is combined with CPR, that can rise to as much as 75%. Typically ambulance crews are unable to reach the scene of a cardiac arrest quick enough to save the casualties life, with a window of just 3-5 minutes to prevent death. With every minute that passes without resuscitation, the chance of survival drops by 7-10%.
The good news is that AED’s are designed to be used even by untrained people, and thanks to their sensors, will only give a life-saving shock to those who need it, meaning there is no risk of accidental harm being done. AEDs are easy to use, giving simple verbal instructions, and even help the operator to perform CPR after a shock has been issued. While having an AED in the workplace isn’t a legal requirement, it certainly is something to consider, especially where there’s a higher background risk because of age or high levels of physical exertion, or if any of your employees have existing heart conditions or medical conditions which raise the likelihood of sudden cardiac arrest.
Browse our wide range of AEDs here.