With accidents at work, being able to react speedily can make the difference between life and death. In fact, even with straightforward strains, sprains or breaks suffered due to a slip, trip or fall at work, having the means in place to respond properly before the victim seeks professional medical attention is not just good practice – it’s a legal obligation.
It comes down to what is called the employer’s ‘duty of care’. This is another way of saying that as an employee in any workplace you should have a safe work environment.
- The right to a clean and safe workstation
- The right to a place to store belongings
- The right to be in workplace with proper temperature regulation and access to proper ventilation and natural light.
Those are just some of the requirements, any employer has to abide by. But it’s very easy to overlook one of the most important – an employer’s duty to have a proper first aid kit and first aid policy in place. As we’ve pointed out, in an accident situation, this matters.
Rapid response in an accident scenario
In any accident at work, being able to properly tend to the injured person before they are taken to hospital is not just about reassuring them or making them more comfortable, it can also help control any injury – preventing it from worsening or becoming harder to treat. That’s where a proper first aid kit and a qualified first aider come in.
Every workplace should have a well-stocked First Aid kit that’s up to date, been checked and within reach in the event of any injury at work. That’s not just a box plasters, cotton wool and cream – the kit should a number of essentials covering off common injuries and other specialist items depending on the nature of the workplace (e.g, if chemicals are used in the workplace, having proper burns treatment or an eye-bath is essential).
Even for ordinary office environments, having the right kit in place is a must. Similarly, every employer should have a designated first aider who is qualified and certified to administer a number of essential first aid techniques –including resuscitation.
Failure to meet first aid at work requirements
If you are involved in an accident at work and it’s not your fault, not having access to proper first aid at the scene is really adding insult to injury. Even if the injury was not the fault of your employer, if they don’t have a proper first aid kit and policy in place and it results in complications or distress, you may have a right to claim compensation. A reliable personal injury lawyer will be able to advise you.
Julie Montgomery is a lawyer specialised in accident compensation claims. Every day she meets people who got injured due to an unsafe work workplace. She hopes this article will make people more aware of an employer’s duties.