The starting point for health and safety in the workplace should be preventing accidents occurring in the first place.
Even small steps can make a difference, for example using specially-designed trays to carry mugs of hot drinks more safely when doing the office tea round.
But with the best will in the world, accidents can still happen. So, what should we be doing to prepare for the unexpected?
For a small office-based team with low-risk tasks – such as the Trust’s administrative staff – the actual legislative requirements are relatively simple.
The starting point is to carry out a first aid needs assessment. If this establishes a low-hazard environment, then the requirements are for there to be:
- a suitably stocked first-aid kit;
- an appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements (but not necessarily trained in first aid);
- information for all employees giving details of first-aid arrangements.
The Health and Safety Executive says some of the items a basic first aid kit might contain include: a leaflet with general guidance on first aid, individually wrapped sterile plasters and wound dressings of assorted sizes, safety pins, and disposable gloves. You can read the full advice on the HSE website.
However, it is not difficult – or expensive – to have more robust measures in place.
For example, we have qualified first aiders in the office and many of our staff are trained in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Another simple step is to have a sealed envelope in the first aid box with details of any particular treatment that a colleague with a pre-existing medical condition might need in an emergency.
Needless to say, the health and safety arrangements for our colleagues working on the bridges are much more extensive!