Why learning first aid at work is a beneficial life-skill

Emma Hammett discusses the importance of first aid training in the workplace and how first aid training has the ability to empower an organisation’s staff with the skills and confidence to help in an emergency

As a leading first aid training business, we have many years of experience supporting businesses to ascertain exactly what training they need to comply with their Health and Safety requirements. We help managers evaluate risks and work closely with teams to establish the most appropriate training to meet the day-to-day challenges faced by their employees and customers.  

All employers, whether a sole trader or huge public sector business, have a legal duty to provide appropriate first aid cover, to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. However, some attendees have historically been reticent about joining these courses; scared of the responsibility of being a first aider at work and suspicious of employer’s motives in enrolling them on the course. Hopefully this article will help to change the positioning of this training and help everyone realise what a huge perk and benefit it is to be able to learn these skills at work.

Learning first aid is a fabulous team-building event. Not only do staff gain a transferrable skill but enjoy learning this knowledge particularly with the practical nature of the course. It is seen by many as a staff benefit; particularly if they are given the opportunity to learn adult and child first aid on this training, thereby empowering them with the ability to help their family at home, as well as being able to assist their work colleagues.

Many people just keep their fingers crossed accidents won’t occur. Or that if the worst happens, there will be a doctor or other medically trained person on hand to take charge and help. Sadly, accidents do happen and the HSE have released the following 2018/19 statistics on injury and illnesses at work (and these are just the ones that were reported!): 581,000 working people sustained an injury at work according to the Labour Force Survey; 69,208 serious injuries to employees were reported under RIDDOR; 28.2 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury; and 147 workers were killed at work during that year.

Unfortunately, according to RoSPA, it is in the home where most accidents occur. They report that every year in the UK more than 6,000 people die in accidents in the home and 2.7 million turn up at accident and emergency departments seeking treatment. Therefore, it is a great opportunity to learn these skills in a work environment to help protect your family at home. Taking a first aid course run by a highly qualified medical, health or emergency services professional teaches life-saving skills you can use at home or work and gives you the confidence to know when and how to act in an emergency.

Any of the skills you learn could equip you with the knowledge you need to save a life, as well as improve outcomes for someone who has had an accident.

The reasons why
Here are 10 reasons why learning first aid should be at the top of everyone’s to do list:

Reason One - First aid saves lives
Basic first aid can mean the difference between life and death. A Red Cross survey showed a staggering 59 per cent of deaths from injuries would have been preventable had first aid been given before the emergency services arrived.

Reason Two – First aid reduces recovery time
First aid can have a huge impact on someone’s chances of recovery and can mean the difference between them having a short term or more permanent disability.

Reason Three – First aid reduces hospital time
Early intervention with first aid can reduce the length of time the patient needs to stay in hospital.

Reason Four – First aid prevents medical situations deteriorating
Knowing the basics of first aid can prevent a bad situation from getting worse. Consider a patient who is seriously bleeding from a deep cut. Without intervention, the patient could suffer severe blood loss. By applying pressure using simple first aid techniques, you can prevent a medical emergency from rapidly deteriorating and stabilise the patient until further medical help arrives. The same with burns, where prompt and appropriate treatment not only reduces damage, but also promotes healing, reducing pain, scarring and long term damage from the injury.

Reason Five – First aid knowledge can reduce unnecessary visits to hospital
Not every accident ends up in hospital but still needs medical attention. Some injuries such as a bumped head, bruised knee or sprained ankle can be better managed with the correct procedure such as competent bandaging, rest or swelling reduction with a wrapped ice pack. First aid training also teaches you to prioritise injuries, giving the most seriously injured or ill the very best chance. As well as equipping you with the knowledge to establish whether someone needs further care and whether that care should be given by the GP, at a hospital or needs immediate paramedic intervention.

Reason Six – Competent first aid can reduce the amount of pain experienced by casualties
Knowing how to respond helps you stay calm in an emergency situation. Staying calm allows you to provide emotional support to the patient and help prevent them from panicking – which can often be a very effective form of pain relief. In addition, knowing how to physically move someone in pain, support their injuries and administer appropriate bandaging and dressings can also greatly reduce the amount of pain they experience.

Reason Seven - Crucial communication for the emergency services
Staying with the patient until the emergency services arrive to take over means you can convey vital information about how the patient sustained the injury or information about their condition. This information is vital to the emergency services for the effective treatment of the patient and can also aid the patient’s treatment and recovery.

Reason Eight – First aid increases awareness and reduces your susceptibility to accidents
Learning first aid and becoming alert to potential hazards and medical issues increases our health awareness and allows us to take better care of ourselves, our friends and families. It creates resilient communities and relieves pressure on the NHS.

Reason Nine – First aid makes you feel empowered
Learning first aid will give you the confidence to act appropriately when an accident occurs. It is vitally important to deal with any life-saving injuries before reaching for the phone to call for an ambulance. It is also very useful to know when, if and how to move someone following an accident.

Reason Ten – Helps prepare you for anything
None of us know what the future has in store for us or for our loved ones. Sudden illness such as heart attack, stroke, severe bleeding and breathing difficulties require immediate attention, which after a course, you will be well equipped to provide. First aid also equips you to deal with bleeding, burns, breathlessness, bites, shocks stings, splints and fainting so whatever medical situation life throws at you, you should have basic skills to respond effectively.

First Aid for Life is a multi-award-winning first aid training provider. Our trainers are highly experienced medical, health and emergency services professionals who will tailor the training to your needs. First Aid for Life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice.

First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information. It is strongly advised that you attend a First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency.

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