Falls are responsible for 31% of all workplace injuries, and if you are going to be able to meet your health and safety responsibilities, it is important that you have staff who are trained in first aid for falls.
There are some simple measures that you can take to prevent falls in the workplace, like removing obstructions from walkways, keeping the workplace clean and tidy, and improving the design of your office to ensure that high traffic areas are safe. However, the risk of falls is always present and you need to be prepared to deal with it.
Older people especially are at risk of falls both at home and in the workplace for a number of reasons. Reduced mobility is common in older people, and this may mean that they are unsteady on their feet and more likely to fall. They may also have reduced eyesight, which makes it harder for them to notice and avoid obstructions. Elderly people may also suffer from cognitive issues that cause confusion and increase the risk of falls.
It is vital that employers are equipped to deal with falls, but it may also be important for carers that are dealing with elderly people as well.
First Aid For Falls
As soon as somebody suffers a fall, it is important that you approach them, being careful of any obstructions and environmental dangers to you or the fall victim. You should not try to move them immediately, you should first get down on the floor so you are at their level and assess the situation. There are two key things that you need to determine:
- Are they responsive?
- If not, are they breathing?
If they are breathing but they are not responsive, you should look carefully at how they have fallen and see if there are any immediate injuries that you can see. Then, move them into the recovery position to keep their airways clear, making sure that you take their injuries into account and avoid causing them more pain.
If they are not breathing, start CPR right away and request a defibrillator if there is one on site. If your organisation has an emergency policy in place, set this in motion now.
Dealing With Responsive Patients
The first aid for falls procedure sets out clear steps for dealing with responsive patients. Firstly, you need to talk to them and see if there is any obvious medical reason for the fall, such as a heart attack or stroke. If they appear confused, try not to ask too many questions as this may increase their stress levels.
Next, examine them more closely for any signs of injury such as bruising or bleeding, and ask them if they feel pain anywhere. If you are concerned that they have injured their neck or spine, do not attempt to move them and call an ambulance right away.
If you see any signs of bleeding, find a clean pad and apply pressure to stop the flow of blood while you wait for more medical assistance. In some cases, the patient may show signs of clinical shock. In this case, you should lie them back down and raise their legs while you wait for medical assistance.
What Should You Do If There Is No Obvious Medical Cause For The Fall?
If you have assessed the situation and you cannot find a clear medical cause for the fall, you can begin helping them up into a sitting position. While moving them, watch closely for any signs of pain, discomfort or dizziness, and continue to reassure them throughout.
When they feel able, you should try to move them into a chair for added support and then examine them once again for injuries. People that are diabetic may not feel where their injuries are, so make sure to check them over very thoroughly.
Finally, you need to follow the right accident procedure for your organisation, which usually involves filling out an accident form, and monitor their progress over the next 24 hours to ensure that there are no other health issues as a result of the fall.
This is the basic first aid for falls procedure that you need to follow if somebody close to you has a fall. However, it is important that people that are administering first aid are professionally trained. If you want to improve health and safety in your organisation, it is worth sending employees on a first aid for falls course so they know exactly how to respond if the situation arises.
Skills Training Group offer a range of first aid courses in Glasgow and around the UK. If you’d like further information on these courses, click here or call us on 0808 164 2780.