While our specialty here at Signsmart may be hazchem signs and EIPs, they aren’t the only signs we produce – our team are committed to helping you make your workplace safer. Often this requires a wide variety of different signs.
Case in point: first aid signs.
How prepared are you for workplace emergencies? Do you have a plan for when things go wrong, and injuries arise as a result of accidents, fires and chemical spills?
As employer or site manager, you need to ensure that your staff are safe. In addition to proactive measures like policies and PPE, that also includes responsive measures like first aid procedures!
Today, we’ll be explaining what sort of procedures and first aid equipment needed in your workplace, as mandated by Safe Work Australia and OHS regulations.
What does the OHS Act say?
According to the OHS Act 2004, employers ave a legal duty to: “provide, so far as is reasonably practicable, adequate facilities for the welfare of employees at any workplace under the control and management of the employer”.
While this passage is pulled from the Victorian Act, these laws are harmonised across the states and territories – in essence, they’re identical nationwide.
What does this mean when it comes to first aid?
Simple: you need first aid measures on your site.
But what sort of measures? After all, you’ll notice that the Act doesn’t really mention anything specific about first aid.
WorkSafe provides 2 guidances that lay out the details:
- The prescribed approach outlines minimum numbers of first-aid trained staff and medical facilities and equipment depending on the number of staff and size of your workplace;
- The risk assessment approach which accommodates for workplaces with unique risks and first-aid requirements
Whichever approach you decide is most appropriate for your workplace, first aid kits should be made available throughout the workplace, and training should be conducted to ensure you have an appropriate number of first-aid officers on-site.
What influences your first aid requirements?
Size and location of the workplace
First aid kits and first-aid qualified staff need to be accessible should anything go wrong.
For small offices, that can mean a first-aid kit stored under in the kitchenette.
But what if your workplace is an industrial facility that spans multiple warehouse over several hectares?
A big workplace needs more first aid kits and first-aid trained staff members – it’s as simple as that.
In particular, first aid facilities and equipment should be focused in areas where there is a higher risk for potential injury or accidents.
That means around machinery and hazchem storage areas.
The number of workers and company personnel
The larger the workforce, the greater the first aid requirements.
That doesn’t just mean physical area – it also extends to the size of your workforce too.
Before you determine your workplace’s needs, be sure to assess the total number of people on-site at any given time, including those who frequently visit your company, such as contractors and subcontractors.
This may also include volunteers and other people in public as well as workers who have disabilities and other special health concerns.
For example, the prescriptive approach we mentioned above suggests:
- Low-risk workplaces
- One for 10 – 50 workers
- One additional kit for every additional 50 employees up to 200
- After 200, one additional kit for every addition 100 employees
- High-risk and rural workplaces with reduced ambulance cover
- One for up to 25 employees
- Two kits for up to 50 employees
- One additional kit for every additional 50 employees
- Specific modules for unique hazards
First aid kits should be made available in both low-risk and high-risk workplaces alike.
However, they’re especially important for so-called high risk workplaces!
In particular, we’re talking about workplaces that:
- Use hazardous substances like laboratories, food manufacturing, chemical manufacture
- Use dangerous machinery like chainsaws, power presses, etc
- Perform dangerous forms of work like welding, electrical work, demolition
- Present a higher risk of falls and construction injuries
- Involve working in extreme hot and cold areas
With the elevated risk of injury in these workplaces, first aid takes on an even greater importance.
In addition to more first aid kits and first aid officers, dangerous workplaces may also need specialised first aid equipment.
For example, say your workplace deals with chemicals. In addition to hazchem signs and EIPs, these substances may also require easy access to on-site showers and taps to wash away any acid that splashes onto your workers.
First aid signs
According to the regulations, it isn’t just enough that your workplace have first aid kits on site – workers and visitors also need to be able to locate them!
There are many ways to do so – you may include it in a mandatory training programs, or bring it up during the initial site tour.
And course, you can’t forget signs.
Signs are an essential part of the first aid system, helping visitors immediately identify and locate vital first aid equipment.
In addition to helping locate first aid equipment however, workplace safety signage can help in other ways!
For example, let’s go back to the chemical example we mentioned above.
These types of substances often come with unique first aid requirements, which can be communicated with safety signs.
For example emergency information panels often feature unique Hazchem codes that identify:
- The substance
- The appropriate disposal method
- First aid requirements
- Whether evacuation is needed
You can even invest in custom signs to communicate specific first aid procedures or locations of first aid kits in your workplace!
These are just some of the ways signage can enhance your first aid plans.
Need help coming up with a signage solution to support your first aid setup? Signsmart can help – call our workplace safety and signage experts today!
First aid signs, hazchem signs, custom safety signs… you name it, we make it!
Help keep your workplace safe with Signsmart’s range of workplace safety signs.
Whether you need first aid signs, emergency evacuation signs, hazchem signs or a custom solution, our team is committed to making your workplace as safe as possible.
We’ll help you navigate your OHS obligations, and create signs that are fully compliant. What’s more, we’ll also get them to you fast, minimising the disruption to your operations!
Have questions? Contact Signsmart on (03) 9687 3050 for the answers to all of your signage questions.