First Aid Training for Employees

The Importance of First Aid Training in the Office Environment

Don’t wait until something adverse happens at the office to break out the first aid kit. First Aid Training for employees on proper emergency response should be an essential part of onboarding and ongoing education.

In an office setting, there may or may not be a designated person to administer first aid. In any case, emergencies and injuries are usually sudden and unexpected. Teaching your entire workforce basic life-saving skills and first aid techniques lowers the chance that situations will escalate due to ineptitude or wait times. Learn why it’s important to integrate first aid training into your workplace and how to do so effectively.

Creating a Safer Workplace With First Aid

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has detailed guidelines for comprehensive work safety. This includes recognizing hazards and conducting regular inspections. It also prominently includes first aid standards and programs recognized by OSHA. Medical first aid is an essential part of a safer work environment. Use the resources available to you to put together a comprehensive training plan.

Empowering Team Members To Help

First, you must understand the need for company-wide first aid knowledge and skills. Basic aid techniques can be the difference between life and death — or a treatable injury and a more severe one. Life-saving skills that you can teach your team include rescue breathing, CPR, abdominal thrust to relieve choking, and ways to control excess bleeding.

Often, people go into shock after a traumatic injury like a wound or burn. Shock care techniques are good to know to keep heat from escaping the victim of injury. It’s advisable to call for help from emergency responders, but this takes more time than if team members can help the victim immediately. Even if they can’t perform full life-saving techniques, they can still offer valuable assistance and even reassurance to the person affected.

Mitigating Panic and the Bystander Effect

Plus, team members can feel less overwhelmed when accidents and injuries happen in the workplace. A calm state can help de-escalate any situation. This empowerment helps mitigate the bystander effect. The bystander effect during moments that require CPR, for example, prevents people from attempting due to psychological factors, including:

  • The burden of responsibility for someone’s life;
  • Misunderstanding of responsibility;
  • Misinterpreting the seriousness of the situation;
  • Fear of performing CPR incorrectly and injuring the victim further;
  • Fear of being sued for injury;
  • Fear of contamination from the victim;
  • Perceived helplessness from lack of knowledge.

That last one is arguably the most important. Knowledge of how to administer CPR or other first aid can give employees an understanding of just how they can help in a situation. It can mitigate their fear of doing something wrong if they understand the situation and how to best navigate it. Many of the fears, like causing more harm, are well-intended, but it’s almost always best to try to help than to not help for fear of failure. Keeping staff educated on life-saving and first-aid techniques helps them feel empowered to help themselves and others, no matter the situation. They feel safer at work and, therefore, are more satisfied with the work environment as a whole.

Being Proactive About First Aid Training

Many offices will integrate some basic first-aid training during onboarding. However, it’s best to follow up and continue this education throughout the employee lifecycle. Techniques change and people tend to forget details over time. Be proactive about first aid training to see the best results.

Get Everyone on the Same Page

Everyone has to have the same understanding of first aid in the workplace to practice it effectively. Team buy-in is crucial for employees to understand the seriousness of their roles in administering life-saving and helpful aid. During training, include modules or segments on becoming a team player. Give everyone a role in first aid preparedness, keep them informed of any guideline changes, and have them role-play emergencies with other team members. Employees should want to help their co-workers, and cultivating a culture centered around togetherness can help facilitate this.

Brush Up on Effective Communication

Miscommunication between employees can lead to lower productivity but also degrade their helpfulness during emergency situations. During training, make sure to cover effective communication for professionals and what that would look like in situations when first aid is required. Go over guidelines, including specific emergency wording, of how to communicate during a crisis. This includes verbal communication, nonverbal cues, and even digital messaging.

Practice how you would communicate an emergency to streamline the first aid facilitation in your office. This way, you are less likely to waste time explaining procedures or clearing up misunderstandings — and you can spend more time helping the person in need.

Instill Situational Awareness

Situational awareness should also be broached in first aid training. Employees should be taught how to observe their surroundings and the activities going on around them. Then, they should be able to comprehend what is happening and anticipate their next best moves. In first aid training, this can look like acting out situations where someone is accidentally burned at work. The actor can exhibit classic signs of going into shock, and the employees need to observe the situation to determine what to do.

Moving Forward With First Aid Training

To keep your team up to date, follow any course and training updates put out by accredited institutions. For example, the American Heart Association provides updated information on cardiovascular event intervention and CPR on its website. As time passes, techniques may change to reflect newfound knowledge of how to best treat injury and afflictions. Empower your team with this updated information, and ask them for any feedback on first aid training. This will help you equip your office with the safety skills needed for any unexpected health situation.