Life Savers – Why First Aid Training is Good for Your Business
As small business owners, we’re always thinking about productivity, immersed in day-to-day and in the grip of deadlines and targets. It can make getting to grips with other tasks like first aid training, often regarded as incidental to the core business, a little sticky. You’re not alone if you put them on the back burner. But you’re not wise, either. Hedging your bets and hoping that nothing untoward happens is neither good judgement nor good practice.
Leaving your workplace adrift without accredited first aid officers in place leaves you high and dry if something goes wrong. As the business owner you’re answerable – to the authorities and, let’s face it, your own conscience.
We trust our employees with our business and our brand, and we’re all keen to do the right thing by them. First aid compliance should be paramount and comes first and foremost. But the altruism in keeping people safe at work – that’s what makes you a truly trustworthy employer.
We’ll let Robert Hunt, CEO of St John Ambulance Australia, persuade you of the importance of first aiders in the workplace. ‘When faced with a survival situation, five minutes can be all the difference whether someone lives or dies which is why the more prepared you are, the better your chances of surviving or helping someone in need.”
The standards around first aid provision are crystal clear, just as they should be - accountability sits firmly with the Employer. Keeping staff safe at work by having an accredited first aider is a small but vital part of a big concept – compliance.
Figures from St John Ambulance Australia highlight that only 53% of employers offer their employees accredited first aid training.
The remaining 47% run considerable risk if things go awry. For a start, there’s lost time, reduced productivity and increased stress. But the greater pitfalls are in having to answer for a breach of legislation. The most significant implication of all, that of injury or worse, may be faced by one of your workers.
Safe Work Australia outlines in regulation 42 of the First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice, ‘A person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure that an adequate number of workers are trained to administer first aid at the workplace or that workers have access to an adequate number of other people who have been trained to administer first aid.’
To simplify, for higher risk workplaces, one accredited first aider is recommended for every 25 workers; in lower risk workplaces the recommendation is one accredited first aider for every 50 workers.
These standards ensure that if the worst is to happen, business owners have put the right measures in place manage a crisis, swiftly and safely. This not only helps you avoid the costly and stressful outcomes of not having best practice in place – it could just save lives.
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Making sure your workplace complies with the standards may feel overwhelming, but putting best practice in place makes good business sense, and it’s worth pursuing. Most importantly, it provides obvious improvements to the physical safety of employees, to include increased feelings of employee engagement and a confident and positive workplace culture.
Providers like St John Ambulance Queensland, are one of many outstanding services available to help small business owners implement best practice and meet compliance. In Australia, St John Ambulance has been the leading first aid training provider for over 130 years – they are in themselves an iconic and trusted brand. It’s a smart move, and an easy one, to join the 500,000 participants who go to St John Ambulance for training and accreditation annually.
Back at the Office
With first aid training under your belt, or that of your carefully selected employee’s, it’s back to the office to continue the awareness raising, and communicate first aid protocols to staff. That means giving them procedural documents, regular first aid drills and the chance to practice in role model exercises. It all builds confidence and a safety culture, and once in place is straightforward to roll out year on year.
Don’t run the risk of doing nothing. The law counts on you to get first aid compliance right from the start. And so do your staff. Peace of mind is knowing you are meeting your legal obligations - and have staff who know how to look after each other when it really counts.