The UK might have one of the best workplace health and safety records in the world, but that doesn’t imply it is accident-free. Every year, 147 workers die at work, and more than 581,000 sustain an injury according to the Health and Safety Executive. The total cost to businesses and the broader economy is an estimated £15 billion, thanks to the more than 28.2 million working days lost annually. There is, therefore, a tremendous need for workplaces to train their people in first aid.
It can be easy to get into the mindset that injuries won’t occur in your workplace. But given enough time and people, something will eventually happen. And if you don’t have the right training in place, you’re unable to react.
Rapid intervention is critical in the event of an injury or illness at work. Data suggest that the chance the victim will survive falls by 10 per cent every minute you delay CPR.
In this post, we will investigate the importance of instituting first aid in the workplace, both for employees and employers.
What Are Your First Aid Obligations?
UK law specifies that companies need to make first aid provisions to operate legally, but the details are somewhat vague.
The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations (1981) tell employers that they must provide a level of first aid that is commensurate to their situation or circumstance. In practice, it means that building sites need more comprehensive first aid facilities than, say, offices.
Currently, “high-hazard” workplaces must have one appointed first aid qualified member of staff for every 50 workers. The figure rises to 100 people in “low-hazard” workplaces.
The responsibility, however, is very much on the shoulders of the individual employer. Many of the stipulations in the Act are guidelines only, meaning that companies have leeway to abide by the spirit of the law. A lax approach, though, may put operations at risk.
How Do You Benefit From Instituting First Aid At Work?
On face value, instituting first aid at work seems like overhead. But like so many other costs in business, it is also an investment – something that could help your enterprise prosper in the future.
Reduce Damage To Your Brand
Health and safety are critical for maintaining positive perceptions of your brand. Companies that take care of their workers and put in place robust systems are more likely to be viewed favourably by both staff and the public.
Be warned, though: the Health and Safety Executive is not afraid to name and shame enterprises that do not conform to minimum standards. It periodically publicizes its findings in its newsletter and on its website.
Reduce The Chance Of An HSE Investigation
Under Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR), the HSE must send agents to investigate serious employee injuries and deaths on your premises. Their goal is to find out whether your firm ignored or broke any of the regulations pertaining to workplace safety. If it did, then you can be liable for fines and even imprisonment.
The new rules also mean that companies can no longer get away with “near misses.” Courts now assess the risk of injuries occurring, regardless of whether they happened or not. First aid training, therefore, is a vital tool you can use both in your defence and to mitigate injury if and when it occurs.
Reduce Lost Productivity
Maintaining health and safety is also vital from the perspective of productivity. Oxford Economics estimates that wages only comprise 60 per cent of gross employee revenue. The remaining 40 per cent is extra income that goes straight to your firm.
Employee absence, therefore, is considerably more expensive than many firm managers imagine. Not only do you lose wages, but you also miss out on all the added revenue generation your employees produce.
With robust first aid, however, you may be able to mitigate the medical issue and help employees return to work sooner. Remaining compliant, therefore, can improve your bottom line.
How Do Your Employees Benefit From First Aid At Work?
There are also altruistic reasons why you might want to consider instituting first aid training in your organization. Like many bosses, you care deeply about the personal wellbeing of your people, regardless of their economic benefit to you.
It Prevents Deaths
Death is a tragedy, but it is even worse when it could have been prevented by swift first aid.
There are all kinds of events that can threaten the life of your colleagues. Choking, heart attacks, strokes, poisonings, falls, and allergic reactions are risks that people in your enterprise face every day. Data suggest that around 59 per cent of workplace deaths could have been prevented had appropriate first aid been available. The right first aid training, therefore, is an essential pillar to cutting your risk.
It Helps To Give Workers A Sense Of Confidence And Pride
Workers want their place of work to take care of them from the moment they walk through the door in the morning to the moment they leave. If they feel, however, that their health is at risk, they will fear injury, have a poor relationship with management, and have higher rates of absenteeism.
First aid training, therefore, is a critical public relations tool that helps workers feel a sense of confidence and pride in the place where they work. If they know that management is looking after their health, turnover will fall, and employee brand image will improve.
First aid training also helps to foster a sense of community. Workers understand that the people around them are trained to assist, should they fall sick or injure themselves. And that can have a substantial effect on morale.
It Reduces The Severity Of Injuries
Finally, prompt first aid can potentially reduce the severity of injuries suffered by members of staff, so long as medical treatment is rapid.
Thus, in summary, first aid is a critical investment that you can make in your business. If you’d like to learn more about the importance of first aid or book training, then check out the courses at Skills Training Group.