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Time of Need: Benefits of First Aid in the Workplace 

first aid in the workplace

Not all workplace injuries require medical intervention, time off work and a workers’ compensation claim. Scrapes, minor burns and sprains can often be managed quickly onsite, allowing the injured employee to return to their duties without further interruption. 

Ensuring that your worksite and workers are equipped with the supplies and knowledge necessary to administer first aid improves overall worker safety, reduces your work-related healthcare costs and keeps employees with minor injuries at work. Here’s what you need to know about preparing your workplace — and your workers — for first aid. 

The Role of First Aid in Workplace Safety 

Many workplace injuries are minor, only requiring basic first aid. Having a well-stocked first aid kit, as well as workers who know how to administer first aid, can get your workers the prompt treatment they need. 

Say a worker gets a minor burn, one that can easily be managed with some burn cream. If you don’t have a first aid supply kit that includes burn cream, someone must leave your worksite to get some, your worker must visit urgent care or an emergency room for treatment, or the worker doesn’t receive any treatment at all until the end of their shift. None of these scenarios is ideal, either for the injured worker or the overall safety of your workplace. 

By having basic supplies handy, as well as staff who know how to manage these minor injuries, the burn can quickly be remedied, and everyone can return to their duties. 

Benefits of First Aid in the Workplace 

Giving your workers the training and supplies they need to manage minor injuries provides many benefits to you and your staff. 

Immediate Response 

Injuries, even minor ones, are best managed if they’re given immediate care. A cut that isn’t cleaned and covered until hours later can easily gather dirt and bacteria, potentially leading to an infection. Even visiting an urgent care facility for a burn leaves the worker in pain for much longer. 

If your workers know how to manage these minor issues themselves, and they have the tools on hand to do so, injuries can receive nearly immediate care and begin healing. 

Cost Efficiency 

Sending every worker with a minor injury to receive care either at home or at a healthcare facility gets expensive. Even a short wait at an urgent care facility, when you factor in travel time, could eat up the better part of an injured worker’s shift. Plus, you’ll be responsible for paying for their medical care. 

Keeping a stock of first aid supplies allows these small injuries to be promptly treated, returning workers to their duties with little to no work interruption. 

Empowering Employees 

Giving your employees the tools they need to take care of themselves and others can be very empowering. They will feel ready to handle small issues without anxiety or needing supervisor involvement, and that confidence can ripple into other areas of their work life. 

Additionally, by giving your team the training and tools needed to manage first aid onsite, they are more likely respond calmly and with level heads in the face of a more serious incident, which can improve outcomes. 

How to Establish First Aid in the Workplace 

Getting your team set up for onsite first aid can be a quick process, but it still takes some time, attention and consideration to do it correctly. 

Assess Workplace Risks and Needs 

Each worksite has its own unique risks and needs, and even different departments within your organization may have different needs. 

Look at prior incident reports and find common injury types, locations and severity. You may notice that workers using one machine are more likely to experience scrapes, for example, so keeping that space stocked with wound wash, gauze and bandages may be necessary.  

Talk with your supervisors and other employees as well. They may identify risks and injuries you aren’t aware of, but that could benefit from some first aid supplies. 

Select a Response Team 

Depending on the size of your organization, training every employee in basic first aid procedures may not be practical. In these situations, it’s helpful to have a dedicated response team that spans all shifts and departments. This will give you first aid-trained individuals in close enough proximity to most of your workers that a quick response is possible no matter what. 

Printed guides and flyers with reminders of some of the procedures and techniques covered in first aid training can be helpful. Your response team members can refer to them if necessary, and they could even be utilized by workers who didn’t receive first aid training in a pinch. 

Equip Your Workplace with Supplies and Resources 

Keeping all the necessary first aid supplies in one recognizable, clearly marked container in all areas of your organization is essential. A hodgepodge of totes and boxes will leave your workers searching for the supplies when they’re needed, delaying care for an injured worker. 

In most situations, a large plastic tote is probably sufficient for most first aid kits. Try to select a color that you don’t use for other storage at your worksite, such as yellow or red, to make the first aid kits stand out from other containers. Clearly mark all sides and the lid of the container. 

Once your first aid kits are stocked and distributed, create a routine of checking the supplies in these containers to ensure nothing’s expired. Replace and refresh supplies as needed. 

Establish Skilled Communication Channels 

Some minor injuries can toe the line between onsite first aid and requiring medical attention. Instead of relying on your employees — who aren’t likely trained medical professionals — to make those calls, consider partnering with a nurse triage provider your workers can call. 

These providers are usually staffed with experienced medical professionals who can gather information about your injured worker’s condition and either walk your team through onsite first aid using supplies on hand or recommend that the injured worker visit a medical facility. 

Your Partner for Successful Workplace Health and Safety 

At Medcor, we specialize in occupational health management. From full-time onsite clinics to our 24/7 nurse teletriage line, we offer organizations of all sizes and in all industries experienced, helpful occupational healthcare to meet their needs. Speak with an advocate today.