Unsure of your first aid obligations in the workplace? Partner Michelle Dawson outlines the seven things you need to know.

1. Every workplace must have at least one properly equipped first aid kit. For workplaces with workers performing duties offsite or in various locations, more than one kit will be required (either portable kits should be issued or there should be one kit in each location and/or in each work vehicle).

2. The contents of first aid kit will vary from workplace to workplace depending on the risks which each workplace presents. A workplace first aid kit should, in the least, contain:

  • Basic first aid notes
  • Disposable gloves
  • Resuscitation mask
  • Individually wrapped sterile adhesive dressings
  • Sterile eye pads
  • Sterile coverings for serious wounds
  • Triangular bandages
  • Safety pins
  • Small, medium and large sterile unmedicated wound dressings
  • Non-allergenic tape
  • Rubber thread or crepe bandage
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Suitable book for recording details of first aid provided
  • Sterile saline solution
  • Plastic bags for disposal

Where particular hazards exist (for instance burns or remote workplaces), additional first aid kit contents will be required.

3. The name and telephone number of workplace first aid officers and the phone number and address of the emergency services should be either in or near each first aid kit. Employers need to ensure that the kits are restocked as necessary.

4. Most workplaces will be required to have a trained first aid officer in their workplace. A first aid officer is a person who is able to administer first aid should an injury occur. They are to hold a current first aid certificate and have been trained in a first aid course from a registered training organisation.  If your business is in a remote or isolated location, your first aiders may need additional training, such as sustaining life while waiting for external responders.  For workplaces with workers performing duties offsite or in various locations, those workers should also be given instruction and training in how to administer first aid (including to themselves).

5. In Victoria the minimum acceptable level of training for first aid officers for non-high risk workplaces is the Senior First Aid Certificate (often referred to as a level 2 first aid qualification, or its competency based equivalent (HLTAID003 – Provide first aid). First aiders should also be trained in your workplace emergency management process and safety management systems.  Regular refresher training is also required (the regularity will depend on the training organisation which delivered the training, but most CPR components of a first aid course are valid only for one year, with general first aid refresher training usually being required every 3 years).

6. As employers have a duty to ensure that there are trained first aid officers in their business, an employer should pay for an employed first aid officer’s appropriate training. Employees should usually be paid for their time in undertaking the training too.  Some Awards and other industrial instruments additionally prescribe a loading as being payable to a first aid officer in addition to their wage (subject to other relevant considerations arising from or relevant to the specific Award or industrial instrument).

7. Records are to be kept by a first aid officer of any first aid treatment given. Worksafe considers that the records should include the following details:

  • treated worker’s name and occupation or job title
  • time and date of injury
  • location at the time of injury
  • description of how the injury was received
  • nature of injury and bodily part/s affect
  • witnesses
  • nature of first aid treatment given
  • name of person making the entry in the records
  • date of entry in register.
  • Records of this nature should be kept for the life of the worker treated.

If you have have questions about your first aid obligations, please contact a member of the Madgwicks Workplace Relations team.

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