Providing immediate and effective first aid to workers or others who have been injured or become ill at your workplace may reduce the severity of their injury or illness and promote recovery. In some cases, it could mean the difference between life and death.
If you’re a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), you must ensure:
- first aid equipment is provided
- each worker at the workplace has access to the equipment
- there is access to facilities for administering first aid
- an adequate number of workers are trained to administer first aid, or workers have access to an adequate number of other people who have been trained to administer first aid.
Consider your workplace needs
To work out your first aid needs, you must consider all relevant matters, including:
- the type of work done at your workplace
- the hazards at your workplace
- how likely it is that an injury will occur and how serious it could be
- the size and location of your workplace
- the usual number and composition of workers and other people at your workplace. Don’t forget contractors, volunteers and visitors.
You can do a risk assessment to work these things out. Look at any past injuries, illnesses and near misses.
You’ll then have a good idea what first aid equipment, facilities and training you’ll need.
First aid kits
All workers must be able to access a first aid kit. This will require at least one first aid kit to be provided at their workplace.
The kit should provide basic equipment for administering first aid for common injuries including:
- cuts, scratches, punctures, grazes and splinters
- muscular sprains and strains
- minor burns
- amputations and/or major bleeding wounds
- broken bones
- eye injuries
Make the kit suit your workplace needs
Your risk assessment will help you determine additional contents of your first aid kit. There may be higher risk of eye injuries and a need for more eye pads in a workplace where the work involves machinery or chemicals, if:
- chemical liquids or powders are handled in open containers
- spraying, hosing or abrasive blasting operations are carried out
- there is a possibility of flying particles causing eye injuries
- there is a risk of splashing or spraying of infectious materials
- welding, cutting or machining operations are carried out.
If you have a remote workplace, you might need extra equipment, for example for serious burns, breathing difficulties or allergic reactions.
Nominate someone to keep the first aid kit stocked and up to date.
You must ensure:
- there are an adequate number of workers trained to administer first aid at your workplace, or
- workers have access to an adequate number of other people who have been trained to administer first aid.
The following ratios are recommended:
- low risk workplaces: one first aider for every 50 workers
- high risk workplaces: one first aider for every 25 workers
- remote high risk workplaces: one first aider for every 10 workers.
Training for first aiders
First aiders should hold a nationally recognised statement of attainment issued by a registered training organisation (RTO) for the nationally endorsed first aid unit/s of competency.
Make sure your first aiders have appropriate training for the specific risks you have identified in your workplace.
First aiders should attend regular training to keep their first aid knowledge and skills up to date, and to confirm their competence to provide first aid.
Refresher training in CPR should be carried out annually.
First aid qualifications should be renewed every three years and recorded in your training register.
Other first aid equipment
Your risk assessment may show you need specialised equipment such as eye wash stations and emergency showers for chemical decontamination.
You may consider providing an automated external defibrillator if:
- there is a risk to workers at your workplace from electrocution
- there would be a delay in ambulance services arriving at the workplace
- there are large numbers of members of the public.