Accidents happen. With winter on its way out, your first aid kit (and your colleagues!) has probably seen better days, so now is the perfect time to assess your workplace’s safety and first aid arrangements. Your office might already be stocked to the rafters with pins and plasters, but your humble first aid kit needs proper TLC for it to be fully effective. Here are some things you should consider to put safety at work first:
- Do you know where your first aid kit is located in the office?
Look around you: in an emergency, would you or your colleagues know where to look to find your first aid kit? It’s amazing how many people don’t know. Ensure your kit is easily accessible to the whole team, and if possible located near to hand-washing facilities (a staff kitchen or common room is perfect), away from dust and damp.
Consider an attention-grabbing, highly visible box that will stand out: all kits must be marked with the famous symbol, but some go the extra mile (we like this one from Wallace Cameron Adulto.) To avoid future confusion, you can even note down the location of the kit and other important snippets of information on a first aid notice like this one.
- Do you know what’s inside?
It’s easy to forget what’s inside your first aid kit until you’re rustling around for the final plaster in the pack. The contents of your kit should be checked and replenished regularly, particularly after an accident, and extra supplies should be kept in-house for emergencies.
You wouldn’t keep out of date food in the fridge, so make sure you regularly examine the contents of your kit for their expiration dates. A first aid kit will last a lot longer than a pint of milk (typically 3-5 years), but products coming to the end of their life will start to deteriorate and may become unsafe, so it’s worth checking in on your kit before things start to go sour.
- Who’s in charge in case of emergency?
Every office has its mum and dad, but do you know who your appointed safety officer is in case of emergency? Not all offices are required by law to have one, but teams of over 25 people should have at least one specifically designated first-aider in their ranks who will take charge when accidents occur. If your office doesn’t have one, there’s no need to worry: the Health & Safety Executive has a comprehensive guide to getting started.
- Do you know what to do in case of emergency?
We’ve all been to first aid courses at work or elsewhere, and we all know the basics of how to bandage a scrape and treat a burn, but some other aspects of first aid can be more daunting. In a recent study conducted by the British Heart Foundation, only 22% of people questioned felt confident enough to perform CPR. If you haven’t already, take the team on a comprehensive first aid course, place safety notices around the office or otherwise make use of the wealth of free resources available on the St John’s Ambulance website.
- Know your legal safety requirements
Did you know that it is a legal requirement for workplaces to have an up-to-date health & safety poster as well as an accident book? Taking stock of the hazards, risks, and obstacles unique to your work environment can clue you in on the action you need to take to optimise safety for you and your colleagues.
Factor in the nature of your work, your location and the size of your team – a very small, remote printing business will present vastly different health and safety risks than that of a large supermarket. Undertaking a quick assessment could save you a lot of time, money, and stress down the line.
Unsure of your next steps to workplace safety success? Check out our simple checklist to make sure you’re on the right path.
The AOS Workplace Safety Checklist
- Are your fire extinguishers in place and with current tags on?
- Do you have the names and information of your safety and first aid officers displayed and are they properly informed?
- Do you have adequate signage in place and is it up to date?
- Are your fire exit signs operational and unobstructed?
- Do you have health and safety procedures and policies in place?