First aid provides the initial attention to a person suffering an injury or illness. First aid in the workplace has a number of benefits including:
- saving lives,
- preventing permanent disablement,
- providing immediate support to the injured person
- improving safety awareness and preventing injury and illness in the workplace, and
- assist in the early return to work and rehabilitation.
The University provides a first aid service that satisfies the University’s obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice 2014.
This Protocol requires that all injuries requiring first aid be treated and reported in accordance with the USC Near Miss, Hazard and Incident reporting guidelines and First Aid Procedures outlined in the USC Emergency Procedures Manual.
The objective of this response protocol is to guide the University community:
- to determine appropriate trained first aider coverage for buildings and to select and appoint appropriate staff to fulfil the role of First Aid Officer;
- to determine needs for first aid equipment, primarily first aid kits, for buildings;
- to ensure that the equipment is maintained to facilitate rapid response to first aid situations;
- in responding promptly and appropriately to first aid situations and other emergencies with a first aid aspect;
- in making appropriate arrangements for first aid in field work and trips away from the University
- in making appropriate arrangements for first aid in situations where volunteers and/or members of the public participate in research activities, clinics, trials etc. where there is an increased risk of adverse health effects requiring first aid or emergency response;
- in reporting incidents, injuries and illnesses as required by legislation;
- to encourage activities to be undertaken that prevent injuries.
- in disclosing health information that can assist in prompt and appropriate first aid response to foreseeable medical emergencies and to guide medical staff dealing confidentially with such disclosed health information.
All school, department and section managers are responsible for:
- informing staff, students and visitors of local first aid arrangements including details of how to contact First Aid Officers. SafeUSC Officers are first aid officers and can be contacted by phoning Ext 1168;
- provision of first aid kits and other essential first aid response equipment in relevant locations in buildings; and
- first aid arrangements for clinics, fieldwork, research activities and laboratories with particular hazards.
First Aid kits will normally only be installed in high risk work areas. A risk assessment must be conducted for the relevant locations/activities to ascertain if a first aid kit is required. The risk assessment is to be conducted by Asset Management Services in collaboration with Human Resources. Asset Management Services will be responsible for auditing and refurbishing first aid kits.
First Aid Officers are responsible for:
- providing first aid to people who are injured or ill in the workplace,
- maintaining first aid kits after utilisation in a medical emergency,
- recording treatments and reporting treatment and incidents,
- maintaining a current first aid qualification, and
- participating in refresher training and competency development activities.
Role of first aid officers
In a first aid emergency a first aid officer is expected to take charge and may direct others on the scene to assist with managing the emergency until Emergency Services or more qualified personnel take over.
The role of the first aid officer is to initiate:
- the emergency treatment of injuries and illness;
- arranging prompt and appropriate referral of casualties to medial aid if required;
- coordinate emergency services response if required
- recording treatments and reporting incidents
- the maintenance of first aid equipment, and keeping clean, checking and restocking first aid kits if utilised.
First aid officers undertake regular refresher training. Refresher training includes practical components, such as Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) practice and use of the Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).
Legal protection of first aid officers
First aid officers are protected by vicarious liability when acting in good faith and discharging their responsibilities in accordance with their training. Vicarious liability means that employers are generally held responsible for the acts and omissions of their employees. The University appoints first aid officers to act on its behalf and discharge its responsibilities in relation to providing first aid. It is clear that in most situations where first aid officers render first aid in the workplace or otherwise in the course of their duties, they will be doing so as employees of the University and vicarious liability will apply.
In addition, at common law, people giving medical treatment to an injured person at an accident site in an emergency (a circumstance in which immediate medical treatment is required to save someone’s life or prevent serious injury to health) cannot be sued for “assault”. Permission to treat an injured person must always be obtained prior to treatment unless the person is unconscious.
Note, however, that protection from personal liability is not available if persons:
- render first aid when their judgement is impaired by drugs (including medications) or alcohol and they fail to exercise reasonable care and skill;
- caused the injury or risk in the first place; or
- impersonate an emergency services worker or falsely represent their skill or expertise in responding to the situation.
Whilst the University of the Sunshine Coast is not responsible for providing first aid to non-University tenants in University-owned buildings, a first aid officer should be prepared to render first aid if called upon to attend an emergency in a tenanted area.
First response emergency medical action
As referred to in the USC Emergency Procedures:
- check the immediate area for signs of danger and remove or control it (if safe to do so) to avoid further risk to the casualty and yourself
- do not move casualty unless they are exposed to life-threatening situation
- notify SafeUSC, Ext 1168
- in emergency situations contact the ambulance services by dialling 000 then ring Ext 1168 to inform SafeUSC
- remain with the casualty and administer first aid (if currently trained to do so) until assistance arrives
- follow the instructions of the relevant Emergency Services personnel or first aid officer
- incident report completed
- review and accident investigation conducted by Human Resources, Health, Safety and Wellbeing.
Debriefing following first aid treatments
First aid treatment may be traumatic or confronting for the person providing the treatment and or for bystanders witnessing the incident or injury. Anyone involved in a first aid incident who feels uncomfortable with the experience should be given the opportunity to debrief after the incident. Employee assistance counselling is available for staff by contacting Human Resources. Student Wellbeing provide counselling to students.