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Emergency first aid

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El Lechero Dairy Basics - Management
Written by Jary D. Winstead   
Thursday, 09 December 2010 09:50

In the last article we discussed emergency action plans, and what was required to write one. In this article we will not stray far from that topic, and discuss emergency first aid.

Each work environment has different hazards and therefore different types of injuries can be expected. Keeping in mind that agriculture is still listed as among the most hazardous professions, it’s pretty obvious that first-aid emergencies can be expected.

el_english_badgeOSHA standards require trained first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) providers at all workplaces of any size if there is no infirmary, clinic or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees. The standard does not state the meaning of “near proximity.”

My interpretation would be that worksites more than 15 miles from a medical facility or emergency services should have trained personnel. One other factor that may require you to have trained first-aid and CPR personnel would be delayed medical responses due to accessibility to the worksite.

When in doubt, get employees first-aid and CPR certified. The two most common certified first-aid and CPR educators are the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association. Both educators have excellent training programs. Employers should have enough trained personnel so that there is always someone available. A good rule is to have a minimum of two personnel certified for each 10 employees.

In accordance to safety standards, each employer must provide an adequate first-aid kit for the types of injuries expected and a quantity large enough for the number of employees that work there. Adequate first-aid kits that comply with safety standards will provide a basic range of products to deal with most types of injuries common to the workplace.

The assortment of required items was developed based on treatment for the following potential injuries: major wounds, minor wounds (cuts and abrasions), minor burns and eye injuries.

Most first-aid supply companies can provide you with kits that include the minimum required first-aid supplies. They can also provide you with kits that include everything from bandages to sore throat lozenges. You’re not required to provide any medications for your employees.

So, unless you feel it necessary, medications such as aspirin, throat lozenges, cold medicines and pain relievers, do not need to be part of your first-aid kit.

Each workplace should have at least one first-aid kit, as well as one in each company vehicle. You can save a lot of money by purchasing weather-resistant cases and filling them with supplies purchased from a drug store, pharmacy or department store.

0610el_winstead_1_enAt right is a list of first-aid supplies that I would recommend in a basic first-aid kit. This list has additional supplies to what is required by the standard, but after working with agriculture through the years, I feel those additional items are necessary.

According to safety standards, when larger operations or multiple operations are being conducted at the same location, employers should determine the need for additional first-aid kits at the worksite, additional types of first-aid equipment and supplies of additional quantities in the first-aid kits.

Safety standards also state that employers should assess the specific needs of their worksite periodically and augment the first-aid kit appropriately.

In accordance to OSHA standards, you have a choice between emergency showers and eye-wash stations that are permanently plumbed or self-contained units. All first-aid kits, emergency showers, and eye-wash stations must be accessible, and cannot be blocked or obstructed.

Oh, and don’t forget to provide employee training, and as always, document it.  EL

Realizing this is a lot of information, if you have Internet access, you can simply type the name and number of the standard into your Internet search engine and print out the specifics.

You can find OSHA Standards for first aid in 29 CFR 1910.151 Subpart K and requirements for first-aid kit supplies in American National Standard (ANSI) Z308.1-1998. Specifics for showers and emergency eye-wash stations can be found in the ANSI Z358.1-2009 Standard.


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