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.

Health and Safety for Construction

Construction Companies Affected by New Health and Safety Legislation

Construction companies have definitely had to swallow a bitter pill when it comes to changes in health and safety legislation if they have been non-compliant.  There were revisions made in February and there have been heavy consequences for companies that don’t comply.  It is said to be the largest overhaul of legislation of this nature in over 40 years for not only health and safety but for corporate manslaughter and food hygiene.

Since February the BLM Health and Safety tracker have recorded that nearly 40% of construction business have not only breached legislation but have been given fines which have totalled over a massive £8 million.

A variety of things were taken into consideration before handing out these heavy fines, the size of the corporation is one of them.  Construction companies that are larger and have a turnover of over £50 million are the ones that are hit the hardest as if their offences are serious – the fine could be over £10 million.  3 of the largest cases have accumulated fines of £5.6 million and examples have also been made of Directors who were given custodial sentences.  Of course, legal fees were also applicable and totalled over £185,000 for the 3 cases.

Helen Devery is the head of the SHE Practice and she stated that if there is a large construction company that are in serious breach of any of the new legislation, then they can expect some hard-hitting fines.  It has definitely opened some eyes and more care and attention has to be placed on ensuring that everything is to the regulated standard for the sake of the company and the employees.  If you are interested in any of our health and safety training courses – please contact us for a free consultation.

What does Brexit mean for Health and Safety

What Does Brexit Mean for Health and Safety?

The whole of the UK is still reeling from the result of the EU referendum, and although many questions have been asked, one of them is “Could this mean changes to legislation?”

The concern with health and safety legislation is that although held by the UK, the policies are a mix of that implemented by the UK and the EU.  It is probable that if there was a complete exit from the EU a 2 year notice period would need to be given and during this time legislation that has been derived from the EU would still remain in place.

One of the main concerns for employees is that much of the legislation that has been derived from the EU are based on workers’ rights, so it’s natural that there has been a growing concern among UK workers.  The Framework Directive was implemented in the UK as the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 is just one example of legislation that could be affected. This was put in place for companies to ensure that health and safety risks in the workplace are identified and evaluated.

Although there are growing concerns amongst UK citizens, realistically we wouldn’t expect that too much would change.  It makes sense for the UK to continue to work with the European Trade Organisation in some form which means that there would still be cooperation needed by the laws that have been enforced by the European Free Trade.

There has also been a discussion about another Scottish independence referendum since Scotland voiced their preference to remain part of the EU and further complications that could arise there.  Although there may not be a complete overhaul of laws it is likely that there will be some changes to legislation including health and safety.