Free shipping over $150

30-day money back guarantee*

The Code of Practice of First Aid in the Workplace

A solid code of first aid practices is a must for any workplace. Implementing such procedures will go a long way in ensuring the trust and safety of your employees.

Why do you need first aid in the workplace code of practice?

Short answer: You need first aid in the workplace code of practice to ensure the safety of your employees and other individuals.

  • Nowadays, most countries legally require most workplaces to be equipped with a first aid code of practice.
  • Having such practices will make sure that your employees, customers and other individuals are provided with the immediate health facilities needed in case of an emergency.
  • Furthermore, these health practices will help cultivate trust between employees and employers, leading to better workplace efficiency.
First Aid for Workplace Accidents

What Is the First Aid Code of Practice?

First aid in the workplace code of practice can be defined in many ways. 

  • However, to ensure uniformity, many governments around the world have introduced legal provisions to define first aid in the workplace.

The Australian government has put in place the Work Health and Safety Act (WHS Act). 

  • A code of practice that complies with Section 274 of the WHS act and WHS regulations can be identified as a code of practice of first aid in the workplace.

Such a code of practice comes with many benefits.

  • It offers persons responsible for first aid clear guidance to act in case of an emergency.
  • An approved first aid code of practice will be submissible to court under the WHS Act and WHS regulations. 
    • It will be used as a point of reference to determine the known risks and hazards that exist in the workplace.

Code of Practice of First Aid in a Small Organisation

Establishing solid first-aid practices in a small organisation can be both trivial and easy when it comes to a small organisation.

  • It can be trivial since small organisations often need more resources to achieve such solid practices.
  • It can be easy, as small organisations require minimum levels of planning when it comes to such practices.

The most basic first-aid requirement for a small organisation would be a first-aid box equipped with all the necessities.

  • These necessities include remedies for commonplace ailments and injuries such as wounds, cuts, burns, and shocks.

Establishing first aid in the workplace code of practice must follow the following steps.

  • Risk assessment
  • Training
  • Equipment
  • Records and Review

Risk Assessment

To establish first aid in the workplace code of practice, you must first identify the existing risks and hazards. You can do this by evaluating the following factors.

  • Scale
    • Number of workers
    • Number of buildings
    • Number of floors in a building
    • Square footage covered by a building
  • Equipment
    • Dangers posed by machinery (Sharp tools etc.)
    • Risks associated with chemicals 
  • Past records of accidents and near misses

Training

Through training, you can equip your workers with the knowledge needed to take care of basic emergencies.

Many first aid organisations offer customised training programs for companies.

  • According to the modules that are needed. 
    • You can customise your training program with the modules you need for the workplace.
    • For example, some workplaces might need extensive training in burn first aid, whereas some might need extensive training in CPR.
    • Number of floors in a building
    • Square footage covered by a building
  • According to the venue 
    • Physical (On-site)
    • Online

These courses must equip employees with knowledge about CPR, breathing, controlling bleeding by applying pressure, and other emergencies such as pregnancy-related complications.

Equipment

All workplaces must be equipped with a first aid box.

  • It should contain items needed to remedy cuts, burns, and shocks.
  • It must contain a leaflet with instructions on treating basic conditions.
  • It should be painted either red or green to make it easier to identify.

In addition to the basic requirements, the first aid box should be equipped with additional items needed to address specific emergencies that might arise in your workplace. These include,

  • Eye washing equipment
  • Chemical kits
  • Defibrillators
  • Burn kits

Records and Review

Maintaining records is imperative to implementing efficient first-aid practices.

  • Records help assess risks better.
  • This, in turn, will help identify risks associated with your workplace and implement better policies.

Reviews help determine if the policies and measures in place are sufficient. 

  • In addition to regular reviews, make sure to review your policies once the settings of your workplace change. 
First Aid for Workplace Accidents

Code of Practice of First Aid in a Large Organisation

First aid in workplace code of practice in a large organisation requires a considerable amount of planning and facilities. However, given the resourceful nature of such corporations, such planning and facilities are possible.

  • Ensuring the safety and trust of employees in a large organisation is crucial to the efficiency and well-being of a company.
  • Furthermore, solid first-aid practices and records of them will lessen the impact of legal consequences on large organisations.

First aid in the workplace code of practice of large organisations takes place along the same steps as in small organisations. Those are,

  • Risk Assessment
  • Training
  • Equipment
  • Records and Review

Risk Assesment 

Risk assessment is crucial to determine the first aid policies needed in large organisations. When conducting these assessments, be mindful of the following.

  • The nature of work and workplace hazards 
    • While some workplaces can be identified as relatively low-risk, others stand out as high-risk.
    • For low-risk workplaces, extensive first aid equipment might not be needed. However, they should be equipped with basic facilities such as first aiders and first aid boxes.
    • High-risk workplaces might need additional equipment such as eye washing stations, defibrillators, first aid rooms, chemical kits etc.
  • Size and location of the workplace 
    • You should be mindful of the size and location of the workplace when carrying out the risk assessment.
    • The distance between different work areas and response time for emergency services must be taken into account.
    • First aid equipment must be located at convenient points and areas with a high risk of a hazard.
    • A large workplace will need several points of first aid equipment if, 
      • There are a small number of workers dispersed over a large work area.
      • Access to certain parts of the workplace is challenging.
      • Work is being carried out a long distance from emergency services.
      • The workplace has several floor levels.
    • The number of workers

Equipment

Proper equipment is necessary to ensure first aid in the workplace code of practice.

  • As we mentioned earlier, a first aid kit with basic supplies is essential.
  • You might need several first aid boxes, depending on the size of the workplace.
  • For large workplaces, you might also need trained, professional first aiders. This might be crucial to saving a life in a high-risk workplace.
  • Depending on the workplace and the nature of the work being carried out, additional facilities such as eye washing stations and dedicated first aid rooms will be required.

Records and Reviews

Records are a must to implement solid workplace first aid policies. These will help you identify existing workplace hazards and remedy them effectively.

Reviews will help you determine if the practices that are in place are sufficient. Regular reviews, coupled with reviews that take place once workplace settings change, will be crucial to ensuring first aid in the workplace code of practice.

The Consequences of Violation of the Code of Practice

Consequences for breaching the first aid code of practice are dire. It can lead to severe injuries or even the death of your employees. This, in turn, will create a massive lack of trust between the employees and the employer, leading to a significant loss in workplace efficiency.

Employers or organisations will have to face legal consequences for breaching the first aid code of practice. 

Violations of the WHS act include,

  • Exposing workers to the risk of excessive noise.
  • Working at heights where the risk of falling is not controlled.
  • Allowing unlicensed operators to use specified equipment (e.g. forklifts).
  • Not ensuring that plant is appropriately guarded to eliminate or minimise exposure of workers to moving parts.
  • Failing to have in place safe work method statements for work carried out in or near a confined space.

Violations of WHS regulations include,

  • Performing unlicensed electrical work.
  • Carrying out electrical work on energised electrical equipment when not permitted.
  • Allowing unlicensed operators to use specified equipment (e.g. forklifts).
  • Not testing electrical work to ensure it is electrically safe.
  • Not notifying the Office of Industrial Relations of a severe electrical incident (SEI) or dangerous electrical event (DEE).

There are four levels of offences for failing to comply with the WHS act or the Electrical Safety Act (ES Act), depending on the seriousness.

Industrial Manslaughter

The highest penalty under the WHS act and the ES act is for industrial manslaughter, where a PCBU or a worker negligently causes the death of a worker.

Here, a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment for an individual or $10 million for a corporate body applies.

Category 1

This is the next-highest penalty.

This is a severe offence that puts a person at risk of death or injury. These will be tried in a District Court. Penalties include,

  • Corporation: up to $3 million.
  • Individual as a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) or an officer: up to $600,000/5 years jail.
  • Individual (e.g. a worker): up to $300,000/5 years jail.

Category 2

This is the failure to comply with a health and safety duty or electrical safety duty that exposes a person to the risk of death, serious injury or illness.

Offences will be prosecuted in the Magistrate's Court. Penalties include,

  • Corporation: up to $1.5 million.
  •  Individual as a PCBU or an officer: up to $300,000
  • Individual (e.g. a worker): up to $150,000.

Category 3

This is the failure to comply with a health and safety duty or electrical safety duty.

Offences will be prosecuted in the Magistrates Court. Penalties include,

  • Corporation: up to $500,000
  • Individual as a PCBU or an officer: up to $100,000
  • Individual (e.g. a worker): up to $50,000.
First Aid for Workplace Accidents

Related Questions:

How many first-aiders are needed for an organisation?

This depends on the number and the scale of the organisation. You might need more dedicated first aiders if you have a larger number of employees.

How do I ensure first aid for remote workers?

For remote workers such as taxi drivers, it's advised to install a first aid kit close by, like in the vehicle they drive.

Takeaway: 

First aid in the workplace code of practice is a must. It will go a long way in ensuring your employees' safety and trust, which will contribute tremendously to workplace efficiency.

LOOKING FOR A FIRST AID KIT?

Answer a few simple questions and we'll suggest a First Aid KIT to suit your needs!

TAKE THE QUIZ