Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Just because the law may not require first aid training in your workplace doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea

There is no law or regulation that requires employers to have a person or persons trained to provide first aid in the workplace. Instead, OSHA's standards (here and here) merely require that an employer ensure prompt first aid treatment for injured employees, either by ensuring that emergency treatment services are within a reasonable proximity of the worksite, or by providing for the availability of a trained first aid provider at the worksite. 

As a result, as long as your workplace or worksite is within a reasonable distance a hospital, you've satisfied your OSHA obligations. Note, however, that Paycor Stadium is a reasonable 3.4 miles from the Level I trauma center to which Damar Hamlin was transported, and yet there is no doubt that the CPR he received on the field for 10 minutes saved his life.

Thus, while you don't have a legal obligation to have employees trained in first aid response in your workplace as long other emergency treatment is reasonably nearby, it's still a really good idea. Mere minutes of delay in emergency treatment is the difference between life and death. To be successful, CPR should be started within six minutes of a person having a sudden cardiac arrest, and there is irreversible damage to the brain after blood flow has stopped for seven minutes

So how do you go about putting together a workplace first aid program. OSHA has you covered with this handy 28-page guide. It covers the key elements of developing and implementing a workplace first aid program, including:

  • Teaching methods
  • Preparing to respond to a health emergency
  • Assessing the scene and the victim(s)
  • Responding to life-threatening emergencies
  • Responding to non-life-threatening emergencies
  • Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

There are many organizations that offer this training for businesses, including the Red Cross.

Having employees understand how to respond to a health emergency at work will save lives. Please give serious consideration to implementing a first aid program as your 2023 resolution.