Fears of First Aid

The ‘Fears of First Aid’ – Are you worried about being sued?

Fears of First Aid

We regularly get learners at our First Aid at Work courses who have worries, or confidence issues about providing First Aid to another person. We tend to call this the ‘Fears of First Aid’. There are many different fears and they can range from everything from a fear of blood to a fear of getting hurt yourself. We like to spend some time during our courses discussing these Fears of First Aid and how to overcome them. Surprisingly, we’ve found one of the most common fears is that you, the first aider, could be sued if the outcome isn’t good.

Despite the fact that no one in the UK has been successfully sued for providing Fist Aid, recent studies conducted by the St John’s Ambulance Service in England found that 34% of respondents would avoid getting involved in an emergency because of concerns about legal repercussions. In response to these perceptions, the UK government introduced the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism (SARAH) Bill in February of 2015. Of course, this doesn’t mean anyone assisting a casualty shouldn’t avoid acting recklessly, but it does mean that courts need to consider if the person was acting with a clear, helpful intent at the time.

To help keep you right, and to help tackle the Fears of First Aid, we’ve compiled a list of five things you can do to improve your confidence and put your mind at ease whilst giving your patient the best possible initial care.

Due to the specifics of each individual emergency scenario, these tips must be considered as general advice only, and are in no way a substitute for the Law as it stands.

1) Introduce Yourself

We can’t really be any simpler than that. Even if your patient appears to be unconscious, you need to introduce yourself to give the patient a chance to respond and also to let anyone else in earshot know what you’re there for.
Say something like, “Hello. My name is ……., I’m a First Aider”. Boom! You’re off to a flyer!

2) Get Consent to Assist

Again, keeping it simple is the best approach. Ask, “Can I help you?” If there is no response, it can be assumed that you have their consent. If they refuse, you must respect their wishes, but you should ensure, as far as is reasonable, that they come to no further harm. If in doubt, contact the emergency services.

3) Call the Emergency Services

This might seem like an obvious one but you’d be surprised to learn just how easy it can be to allow adrenaline or panic to take over and cloud your thinking if you’re not fully in control. With the professionals on the way, you can increase your patient’s chances. So make sure when dealing with your patient, keep  asking yourself, “Does this person need an ambulance?”. If you’re not sure, don’t take the risk. Call 999 or 112.

4) Stay within the Scope of your Training

Sure, you may have just watched a box set of Grey’s Anatomy, or an SAS documentary, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean you’re qualified to perform complicated medical procedures on your patient. So no amputations or tracheostomy procedures – you’re not Andy McNab and this isn’t the set of Grey Sloan Memorial! Only do what you’ve been trained to do by a qualified First Aid Instructor and you won’t harm the patient any further.

5) Stay with your patient until help arrives

As you can imagine, a patient, particularly one in a serious condition, would be understandably upset if the person providing assistance to them suddenly ups and leaves the scene before professional help has arrived.
So, while you may not necessarily have a duty of care to offer your assistance in the first place, if you do, you are required to stay with the patient until you’re satisfied they have made a full recovery or are in the capable hands of a professional, e.g. a paramedic or ambulance technician.

 
And there we have it – five simple steps you can take to keep yourself right when providing First Aid.

You can help improve your knowledge and confidence by attending one of our regularly scheduled First Aid courses. Contact us today for information on how to book a course and learn real, every day, life-saving skills.

First Aid for New Drivers

It’s time to make First Aid training compulsory for New Drivers

First Aid Training for New Drivers

What do you think about First Aid Training for new drivers? Well, picture yourself driving home from work one evening. It’s winter and it’s dark. The weather has turned to a night of blustery, wintery showers. You’re looking forward to getting home. As you turn the bend, you prepare to accelerate, suddenly you approach a scene you weren’t anticipating – vehicle debris, mud and gravel are strewn across the road. Across the white lines you can make out what appears to be a car on its side. You stop, put your hazards on and get out of your car to investigate. You attempt to listen for any signs that the occupants are ok, but the noise of the accelerator is making it difficult to hear. You feel your heart rate increase and a knot in the pit of your stomach. What do you do next?…

Well, if you were a driver of a vehicle in Germany, Austria, Switzerland or Bulgaria, you’d know how to make the scene safe and then administer potentially lifesaving First Aid until the emergency services arrive. You’re able to do all of this because when learning to drive you attended First Aid Training for new drivers. In fact, if you’re Swiss, you had to complete 10 hours’ worth of training before even applying for your licence. In France, anyone first on the scene of such an incident has a Duty of Care to provide assistance if they are capable of doing so.

However, if you hold a UK Driver’s Licence, the chances are, you’re  one of the 93% of people without up-to-date First Aid training. In the UK, there is no requirement to complete any First Aid training for new drivers, meaning two-thirds of people have said they wouldn’t feel confident attempting to save a life, and 24% of people would do nothing until the ambulance arrived. We all know to call the emergency services, but as a trained first aider, you could provide the operator with additional details that could really help the ambulance team when they arrive.

What’s the current situation?

With approximately 23,700 people either killed or seriously injured on our roads in 2015, it’s safe to say some First Aid training for new drivers would go a long way. The current UK government policy of leaving it up to the individual to register for First Aid training simply isn’t working, and we’re lagging behind many of our European neighbours as a result.

The current Driver’s Theory Test does include some questions on First Aid, which is a good place to start. However, is this really enough to prepare a new driver to assist someone in the case of an emergency? We’d have to say no. To develop a practical understanding of the skills necessary to help someone in an emergency some hands-on training would really be needed.

How can we Improve?

Now, we’re not suggesting every driver should be sent on a First Aid course- or that you’d all need to re-sit your tests- but with around 450,000 new drivers passing their test each year, there’s certainly room to improve our woeful First Aid statistics. Let’s take a look at the numbers. Approximately 63% of the population aged between 21 and 29 have a driver’s licence. If those figures remain steady, which they are set to do, then within 13 years we could have nearly two-thirds of people, under the age of 30, in possession of the knowledge, skills and confidence to be potential lifesavers.

Moreover, the skills learned will not just be applicable on the road. It is estimated around 140,000 people die each year when the early intervention of a trained First Aider could have potentially saved their life, just think of the impact it would have if we provided these new drivers with these lifesaving skills.

What do you think?

We think it’s a no-brainer, that the pros far outweigh any cons, but what do you think? Is the current volunteer basis of First Aid enrolment working for us? Is it time for some kind of compulsory program to be legislated for? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. If you are interested in booking a First Aid Course, take a look at our training sessions here or give us a call today on 01698 421 444.

head injury symptoms

Halloween Head Injury Handbook

This week, many of us will be busy celebrating Halloween. It’s a time that’s usually filled with enough blood to make even us first aiders feel slightly nauseous! Thankfully, most of it is usually fake. However, Halloween can be a time when a massive amount of pressure is put on EMS. Many people forget that whilst they may be dressed as a superhero, they don’t actually have superhuman powers. So, this week we’ll be looking into one of the most serious injuries that can occur. Whilst things may go bump in the night this week, we sincerely hope that one of them is not your head. So, without further ado, let us fill you in on some essential tips for spotting head injury symptoms & signs.

Types of Head Injuries

There are a few different types of head injuries. We’ve listed the main ones below:

  • Concussion – this is when the brain is shaken
  • Cerebral Compression – when swelling or bleeding puts pressure on the brain.
  • Fracture – this is when the skull is cracked caused by fractures resulting from direct or indirect force.
  • Cerebral Contusion – bruising on the brain.

Head Injury Signs & Symptoms

Head injuries can happen very easily. Common causes include a blow to the head, car accidents or even falling. Not every head injury occurs as a result of direct impact to the skull, so you should always check for signs no matter the situation.

Some of the common head injury signs & symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Sickness
  • Dizziness
  • Watery blood coming from nose and ears
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Personality change
  • Headache
  • Pain

What to Do if You Suspect a Head Injury

If you spot a person exhibiting head injury signs & symptoms, you must alert the EMS. It is then your job to monitor the patient until they arrive.

Lay the patient down, and gently raise their head and shoulders by a few centimetres to relieve pressure on the brain.  Monitor vital signs.  No food.  No drink.  Stay with patient, and prevent them from sleeping.

What is the AVPU scale?

A patient may lose or fall in and out of consciousness after suffering a head injury. The AVPU scale is the scale that is used to determine whether or not a person is unconscious. AVPU is an acronym to help you remember the steps, which are as follows:

  • Alert – check whether the patient is alert, although not necessarily orientated.
  • Voice – Does the patient respond to voice?
  • Pain – are they responding to pain or touch?
  • Unresponsive – they are failing to respond to any of the above.

Head injuries can be very serious and result in severe trauma, so it’s important that you recognise them early. Although you cannot treat a head injury yourself, you can help the patient gain prompt access to medical care. Recognising head injury symptoms and signs is crucial. Remember that not all occur as a result of direct impact to the skull. They could just as easily be triggered by landing on your feet, with the impact transferring up through your body and damaging the brain.  Be aware that spinal injuries could be a result of this type of impact. It is your job as a first aider to recognise head injury symptoms & signs and monitor the patient’s wellbeing until EMS arrives.  Recognising these symptoms could help you to become someone’s superhero – with or without the costume. Keep it in mind this Halloween.

heart attack symptoms

Affairs of the Heart: How to Spot the Signs of a Heart Attack

A heart attack can lead to Sudden Cardiac Arrest, the most common cause of death in the United Kingdom. This week, we celebrated Restart a Heart Day. It is a day dedicated to the awareness of CPR training. CPR or ‘Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation’ is used when the heart has gone into cardiac arrest. Although a heart attack is not the same as cardiac arrest, it is very serious. It signals that the heart is in serious trauma, meaning that it may stop at any time. Knowing the main heart attack symptoms allows you to seek treatment earlier. The earlier a patient receives treatment, the higher their chance of survival is.

What Causes a Heart Attack?

A heart attack is caused by a blockage or restriction of blood to the heart. It results in a starvation of oxygenated blood to the heart and body, which then causes the trauma we mentioned above. Blockages are more common in arteries that have been narrowed by a build-up of plaque, which is made up of cholesterol particles. Poor nutrition and lack of exercise contribute to high cholesterol, which is why it is so important to live a healthy lifestyle.

Never Delay Treatment

One of the biggest problems when dealing with a heart attack is that people brush off common heart attack symptoms as something else. Many of the earlier signs can easily be explained away as something minor. Therefore, treatment is delayed and more damage is done. By spotting the signs early, you may be able to provide the patient with the best chance of recovery.

Heart Attack Symptoms

One of the first things that people experience during a heart attack is chest pain. Although this seems like an obvious warning sign, many still discount it. Not all heart attacks start with a severe gripping pain in your chest. It can feel like indigestion, which it is commonly mistaken for. However, the pain can swiftly radiate from your neck to your jaw and down one arm – usually your left.

Dizziness and nausea can swiftly follow. Again, many people shirk this off as the beginnings of a virus. Someone experiencing a heart attack may display signs of becoming pale grey and will often have sweaty skin. These signs are often accompanied by other symptoms including difficulty in breathing and a rapid, irregular pulse. Many of the symptoms above mirror those associated with other conditions; such as indigestion, stress or a panic attack. Yet, they are signs that your body is imploring you to get help. Do not ignore them. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

First Aid for Heart Attacks

If someone is experiencing heart attack symptoms, it is crucial that you immediately contact the Emergency Medical Services. Whilst you wait for their arrival, it is important that you try to keep the patient calm. Loosen clothing and place them in a position where their back is against a flat surface, such as a wall, and their knees are raised with feet flat on the floor. If the patient can speak, ask them if they have medication for angina. If so, assist them to take it. Also, ask if they are allergic to aspirin, or if they’ve been prescribed any blood-thinning medication. If not allergic and you have some at hand, advise them that chewing ONE 300mg aspirin tablet can be useful for adults. Whilst you are doing this, be sure that you are monitoring their vital signs, particularly breathing and circulation.

When is CPR required?

We mentioned above that we recently celebrated Restart a Heart Day, to help train more people in CPR. This is because, during cardiac arrest, any time that the body spends without oxygen lessens a person’s chance of survival. Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops, which can happen at any time during a heart attack. If a person’s heart attack symptoms have become so severe that they fall unconscious and stop breathing, it is time to perform CPR. It is important to remember that in a case of cardiac arrest, CPR, on its own, will not ‘restart’ the heart. If possible, obtain an AED unit to deliver a shock, but do not leave the patient to go looking for one. The EMS will have one when they arrive.

Recognising common heart attack symptoms is crucial in getting a person early access to medical treatment. Delaying treatment increases the chance of the patient falling into cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, 60% of the UK population has not been trained in CPR which means many people die needlessly as a result of this lack of training. We want to change this. Learning how to effectively carry out CPR and use AED units, come as part of our training courses. Every workplace should have a person with these skills, should the worst happen. It is a vital part of keeping your employees safe.

For information on any of our first aid or health and safety courses, get in touch. We even offer a free consultation, to help you best assess the needs of your premises.

risk assessment

Build a Risk Aware Workforce

As part of the HSE’s strategy plans for the future, a movement has been created. The movement is called Help Great Britain Work Well. Its aim? To create a culture of risk awareness and accountability in all firms in the UK. Instead of leaving the task of maintaining health and safety standards to one over-stretched employee, why not educate your entire workforce? With more people involved in the continued identification and mitigation of risk, your workplace ultimately becomes safer. Give your employees the chance to step up and contribute to the continued effort of keeping themselves and their co-workers safe during the working day. An initial risk assessment is just the start. You must continuously look out for hazards, which is far more effective with more hands on deck.

What is a COSHH assessment?

The law requires all firms to carry out a COSHH assessment. It stands for Control Of Substances Harmful to Health. You may think that this doesn’t apply to your firm but it does. If you are in control of a workforce of any size, you must make this risk assessment.

It involves assessing the possible exposure to any harmful substances in your workplace. It is especially pertinent in warehouses, workshops and engineering premises among others. However, it can also be relevant in a simple office set up due to factors such as indoor air quality. Printer ink is also considered to be a harmful substance. So whilst you may not think that your workplace poses any harmful substance threat, it always pays to be thorough. If you’re in any way unsure, further your learning and take a training course. Or appoint members of staff to earn the certificate then the trained staff members can pass on their knowledge and create a risk-aware workforce.

Level 2 Risk Assessment Certificate

Taking a level 2 risk assessment training course will provide you with the tools to carry out an effective risk assessment in your workplace. By understanding how risks arise, you can step to mitigate them. You’ll initially learn how to identify a hazard. Although this may seem like a common sense undertaking, some hazards are not so easily spotted.

One of the main issues in many workforces is that although a hazard has been spotted, nothing is been done about. Staff can become apathetic about it and the hazard lies dormant until it causes an accident. By then, it’s too late to safeguard your staff. Often it’s only then that something is done. A training course will coach you on the possible outcomes and the reasons why you must take immediate action.

Having staff who are aware of hazards and trained to carry out a thorough risk assessment can only benefit you as a firm. The number of days lost to occupational ill-health and workplace injuries during 2014/2015 was 27.3 million. Of this figure, 4.1 million were days lost because of an injury that happened on the job. This loss of productivity can be extremely destructive to a firm’s overall output. So, why not safeguard against it? Prevention is better than cure. Creating a culture where employees are informed and well-briefed on risks is your best weapon against costly absences. This is the ultimate aim of the Help GB Work Well movement, which you can check out on social media for more information. Let’s work together to spot hazards before they strike.

first aid procedures

Do You Know Your Legal Duties as an Employer?

As an employer, it is your job to know the legal standpoint on all things related to your business. First aid is no exception. You must be aware of legislation regarding this area and begin drafting first aid procedures accordingly. These procedures will vary depending on the risks associated with your particular workplace, so a thorough risk assessment will be necessary in order to identify these. It is then your responsibility to brief your staff on your company policy regarding first aid.

All tasks are carried out with one clear goal; that in the instance that an emergency situation occurs, employees have access to immediate medical attention. No one can predict the future and accidents can happen at any time. The best that we can do is to safeguard against risks and have appropriate first aid procedures in place.

First Aid Needs Assessment

In order to best ascertain the specific needs of your workplace, you should carry out a first-aid needs assessment. There are no specific guidelines which state when and how you should carry out this assessment. The only stipulation is that the resulting provision for first aid is fit for purpose. As an employer, you should be aware of the risks in your firm. Look at the size of your facility, hazard risk, the type of work carried out on the premises and the distribution and size of your workforce. You may also want to consider your location and how accessible it is for emergency services.

At a minimum, you must have a small first aid kit on the premises. It must be kept fully stocked and you may need more than one for premises which are larger. An appointed person must be chosen. This person will be responsible for making first aid arrangements. Any information on these arrangements should be passed onto your staff. All members of your workforce should be aware of your first aid procedures.

Training Provision

However, the factors above may dictate that you need to make further provisions. Certain sectors may even require workers to undergo specialist first aid training in order to properly follow first aid procedures. Some examples of these can be in forestry, childcare or any healthcare professionals with a duty of care to provide basic life support.

Most firms of over 5 staff will require some form of training. Many who require a first aider on the premises will look to have a member of staff complete a Level 2 Emergency First Aid at Work or Level 3 First Aid at Work course. To make it even easier for firms to properly accredit their staff, courses now exist in a blended format to minimise their impact on normal levels of workplace productivity.

As of early 2016, the HSE has begun allowing the theory portion of these courses to be undertaken using an online teaching tool. Although the overall number of contact hours remains the same, the number of hours spent in the classroom is less. This can be favourable to business who wish their employees to gain certification without sacrificing too much of their working week.

Why  First Aid Procedures is Necessary

Statistics recently released by the HSE showed that in the UK, 144 workers died as a result of a work-related injury in 2015/2016. Although lower than in previous years, this figure is still far too high. A further 67 members of the public also suffered a fatal injury in a work-related accident.  Many lives can be saved by the administering of first aid. However, as much as 60% of people in the UK still would not feel comfortable enough to step into this role. We can change this but it requires more employers to realise the importance of a proper provision for first aid.

Firms which have comprehensive first aid procedures help to safeguard their employees from harm. Empower your workforce by allowing them to learn skills which could one day save a life. As we stated above, you never know when an accident could happen. You can, however, ensure that you are well prepared in the event that the worst happens. For further information on the first aid qualifications that we offer, contact us.

National Road Victim Awareness Month

We are almost at the end of August, which means that National Road Victim Awareness month is almost over. We couldn’t let it pass without notice. In this year alone, 806639 people have died globally after being involved in road accident. However, it has been suggested that up to 46% of these deaths could have been prevented by receiving first aid before the arrival of emergency services. The unfortunate fact is that not enough people have had emergency first aid training and therefore do not feel confident enough to provide help.

The History of National Road Victim Awareness Month

August has been deemed national road victim awareness month as a result of several high-profile road deaths which occurred historically during this month. The most widely covered of these was undoubtedly that of the late Princess Diana, who died on 13th August 1997 as a result of a car crash which took place in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris.

Could You Assist?

The question that we are asking today is, ‘what would you do if you witnessed a car accident?’ One of the main factors to consider is your ability to make a difference. Unfortunately, this difference is not always a positive one. By throwing yourself into the accident scene without adequate knowledge, you could end up making things worse. This is why attaining a basic level of emergency first aid is so important. By learning these skills you could make a positive difference which may even save a person’s life.

What Should I Not Do?

One of the most important things to remember is that you should never place yourself in danger by assisting in an accident. If you are passing in your car, be sure to park in a safe place and turn off your engine. You should not park somewhere that is going to endanger yourself or others around you.
Whilst you should assess the injuries of a person, it is essential that you do not move them. Check their airways to determine whether or not the person is breathing. If not, CPR must be performed. It is important that if you are attempting CPR, you must have been trained to do so at an emergency first aid training course. Anyone who has not received training, should not attempt to give CPR. In this instance, ask someone with appropriate training to do so.

What Should I Do?

Upon witnessing an accident, the first thing that you should do is call emergency services. It is essential that you tell them the exact location of the accident and what has happened. You should make them aware of how many people are injured, anyone who is not breathing and any bleeding sustained.
Stemming the bleeding of any injury is important. Use a clean cloth and if the victim is conscience, ask them to press the cloth against the injury to slow down the rate of blood loss. This can also lower the risk of shock. In the event of shock, you should seek to loosen any tight clothing, keep the person warm and raise their legs.

 

The information in this blog is only a very brief guide to administering roadside emergency first aid. In order to make the greatest level of difference, it is essential that you undertake training. Our Level 3 First Aid at Work course covers many of the aspects that we mentioned above, including CPR, treating shock and serious bleeding management. You can now complete this training in less time than ever by choosing the blended training option. You’ll learn essential life-saving skills with minimum disruption to your working week. We also have a specially tailored motorcyclist’s first aid course. It was designed to give you all the tools you need to assist in the event of an accident. Contact us for more details on any of the above-listed courses or to book your place.