Significant changes ahead?

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Significant changes ahead?On 1 Nov 2003 in Personnel Today With the first-aid regulations now more than two decadesold, the HSE is looking to update. We explore the proposed changes and how theymay affect first-aid provision, by David Arnold More than 20 years ago, the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981came into force. Since then, large manufacturing plants, once so common, havemade way for smaller businesses. Hazardous working environments have beenreplaced with health and safety-conscious workforces, and prescriptive policieshave been superseded by needs assessments. So are the regulations still relevant? To find out, the HSE commissionedresearch, resulting in a discussion document to move first aid forward and toalign first-aid provision with today’s needs.1,2,3 If fully implemented, the proposals would affect first aid in everyworkplace. However, this is a discussion document and as such, allows yourinput to shape first-aid provision for the future (The First Aid Café websiteis currently collecting views for the HSE3). The new training model To understand any changes, we need to make a comparison with the legislationas it stands today. All workplaces require, at a minimum, an appointed person (AP). Althoughtraining is available, training is not a legal requirement as an AP’s main dutyis only to call the emergency services, plus a few other non-medicalactivities. For workplaces requiring a first aider (normally for organisations employing50 people or more), he/she must be qualified. The qualification requires afour-day training course presented by an HSE-approved provider. The first aider must also take a refresher course every three years for thequalification to remain valid. The commissioned report found support for: – Shorter first-aid courses, as it reduced the burden on employers torelease staff for training – More frequent refresher courses, as it addresses skill-fade – More ‘basic first aiders’ trained in emergency training, as this improvesfirst-aid provision at a reduced cost. These proposals should not increase the burden on employers, although therewill be financial winners and losers. Any increased costs, however, will beoffset by increased benefits. The HSE proposes three levels: – Appointed person – no training – First aider – six hours training – First aider – 16 hours training. These three levels will enable employers to match more accurately, and costeffectively, the legal directives with requirements. The new training courses will concentrate more on life-threatening injuriesor illnesses and remove the more non-essential detail, making the training lesscomplex and more focused. The six-hour emergency first-aid course will include: – What to do in an emergency – Cardiopulmonary resuscitation – First aid for the unconscious casualty – First aid for the wounded or bleeding. The 16-hour first-aid at work course will include: – Emergency first aid (as a short course) – Provision of appropriate first aid to a casualty who: – is suffering from broken bones/spinal injuries – s suffering from shock – as been burned – has an eye injury – has been poisoned – Recognition of common major illnesses and provision of appropriate firstaid – Importance of personal hygiene in first-aid procedures – Use of first-aid equipment – Maintenance of simple factual records. First aid for the public Although it is currently recommended that visitors, customers and othernon-employees should be included, they do not yet form a legal part of theassessment. The proposal here is to change this recommendation to become compulsory.However, by including the public, certain needs-assessment outcomes may change– for example, a supermarket has customers of all ages and the likelihood ofcardiac arrest increases with age. Because of these changes, automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) –including training – may be considered a necessary part of first-aid provision.This change may also burden the smaller business, for example, small retailshops. Skill fade Research has found that some individuals cannot adequately perform basiclife support within two months of training. After three years, the results aregenerally very poor, so the current three-year period between refresher courseshas always been considered excessive. It is proposed that a refresher course beundertaken every year. Training for the above courses will be restricted to HSE-approved trainingproviders. There will, however, be first aiders that need further, morespecific training, but this type of training will remain unchanged and outsidethe responsibility of the HSE. Training providers First-aid training providers also form an integral part of the discussiondocument. Briefly, the changes that are proposed range from approving coursesinstead of training providers, and holding a register of suitably-qualifiedtrainers. First aid kits What should go into a first-aid kit? This is a common question and has ledto the availability of the ‘HSE-approved kit’. Surprisingly, there is no suchitem. The HSE does not approve the content or the kits. Contents should berelated to a first-aid needs assessment. The HSE is trying to clarify thesituation by either making the content mandatory or by offering examples basedon different workplaces. Medicines, paracetamol etc, also form part of thereview. Have your say Some of the issues raised, if implemented, would require an amendment inlegislation, while others can be more readily introduced within the currentframework. Any changes will be wide reaching, and once implemented, couldremain with us for a further 20 years. It is therefore important that people’sopinions are presented and acted upon. The discussion document allows this tobe realised. References: 1. Casella Report, Arnold D (2003) – A matter of life and death.Occupational Health 55 (3) 21 2. HSE discussion document – A Review and evaluation of the effectiveness ofthe Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1982 3.First Aid Café,

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