What is an Automated External Defibrilator (AED) ?
For those amongst us who have not heard of an AED, it is a small portable device used to treat casualties who are in Cardiac Arrest. Cardiac Arrest is a condition when the heart suddenly stops beating, this in turn stops the blood flow to the brain and other vital organs. When a casualty is in Cardiac Arrest they will be experiencing a rapid, irregular heartbeat known as Ventricular Fibrillation (V-Fib). When this occurs an AED is needed to administer an electric shock in an attempt to restore a normal heart rhythm. For every minute that passes without the heart being restored into its normal rhythm there is a 10% reduction in the survival rate of the casualty so having quick access to an AED and the knowledge of how to use it is really very important. An AED really can save a person’s life.
The HSE have recently announced that training in how to use of an AED in First Aid should now be included on all workplace first aid courses. This addition to standard first aid training is in line with the Resuscitation Council (UK) opinion that using an AED now forms a standard part of basic life support. This training will be introduced over the next 6 months and all First Aid training providers will be required to deliver AED training as standard by December 2016.
Annually over 600,000 workers sustain injuries following workplace accidents. Statistics also show that HSE prosecutions of directors and individuals following serious workplace incidents are on the increase. Data taken from the HSE in 2013-14 indicates that they also have a successful conviction rate in their prosecutions of 94%.
From early 2016 there will be new sentencing guidelines in force which could prove to be extremely costly for businesses as they will now take into account the offence, the circumstances of the offence and also the turnover of the offender to decide on the appropriates sentence and fines. The fines imposed under the new guidelines will be substantially higher than they are currently and will be directly linked to the company turnover. This could result in large companies with a high turnover receiving extremely large financial penalties. The new guidelines also propose a starting point of 26 weeks custodial sentence for individuals who are convicted of negligent conduct in the highest category of harm cases such as death or catastrophic injury and these will no longer be given suspended prison sentences. Courts will also be encouraged to adjust starting points for fines if there are any aggravating factors involved such as cost cutting at the expense of health and safety. Individuals within a company with or without managerial responsibilities will also now be personally liable and will be subject to financial penalties and imprisonment if they are convicted of a HSE offence.
It has never been more important for you as an employer to protect yourself, your company and your employees against accidents and injuries in the workplace. We cannot stress enough how essential it is to ensure that your staff are fully trained and informed of their roles and responsibilities in keeping the workplace safe. Our accredited IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for Managers and Supervisors and will ensure they are fully up to speed on the practical actions that they need to take to handle Health and Safety within their teams, assess and control risks and identify hazards. It will give them the knowledge and tools they need to tackle health and safety issues that they are responsible for. Most importantly it will bring home to them just why health and safety is such an essential part of their job role. We also offer a one day Working Safely course for people at any level, in any sector who need to understand the essentials of health and safety.
Act now, take the time to have the conversation with your teams and identify the people who require training and ensure that you take the necessary steps to ensure that your company and your staff are fully prepared.
Many companies have benefitted from sending their employees on our First Aid courses, since the days of HSE regulated courses through to the current system of OFQUAL regulated courses. You can be sure that your attendees are receiving all the latest – and correct – information about First Aid in the Workplace, as agreed by the HSE and Resuscitation Council (UK).
Most recently, the Resuscitation Council released its findings from research from the past 5 years, with some surprises in store……
- There were very few changes to the administration of CPR, with just a few minor adjustments to resuscitation protocols to simplify procedures
- There were some changes relating to treating asthmatics (particularly children) and low blood sugar in Diabetic casualties
- Most of the changes related to the treatment of severe bleeds, including the use of tourniquets and haemostatic (blood clotting) dressings where appropriate, and if trained to do so
For many years First Aid training has not advocated the use of tourniquets (which is a device for stopping the blood flow through an artery or vein); however, it has now been recognised that, when used appropriately, tourniquets can save lives and First Aiders should be taught how to use them in cases of catastrophic bleeding.
Of course, if you work in an office, you are unlikely to be in a situation to need to use one, however if you work for a tree surgeon for example, that is a different matter!
These recent changes show how important it is to keep your First Aid trained personnel updated with practical skills and information; the HSE have long since recognised that the standard 3 years between mandatory First Aid training is too long, and therefore ‘strongly recommend’ that First Aiders of all levels also attend an annual half day refresher. This course is intended to be mostly practical work, but also with any updated information for the attendees.
After all, most First Aiders are only called to deal with fairly minor injuries like small cuts and sprained ankles, but if they were called to deal with an unconscious casualty 2 years and 11 months since their last training course, they would still be expected to try to save a life!
As most business owners know, having strong health and safety practices in the workplace makes sound business sense. While benefits, such as reducing the risk of work-related accidents and ensuring the safety of your employees are obvious, you can also avoid the penalties associated with regulatory non-compliance and the legal costs resulting from a court case brought by an employee.
What’s more, better health and safety procedures means fewer incidents over the course of a year, which in turn means reduced downtime, higher productivity and less chance of missing a deadline. All of this can enhance your reputation as a supplier of choice, help you win more business and, ultimately, improve your bottom line.
You may not realise it, but many of the laughable health & safety stories you read online or in print are simply myths, and often a means of blaming health & safety for poor decisions.
It seems that many companies and individuals use the banner of health & safety to carry out their wishes, which often involve what the individual can and can’t do. This contrasts with the fact health & safety law is designed to keep you safe and out of harm’s way, with requirements being based on well thought-through scenarios and past happenings.
Health & safety measures are designed to keep everyone safe. Although accidents are a part of life and can occur anywhere and at any time, there are ways to avoid many of them by simply being aware of the most common safety hazards found in the workplace.
Business owners have a duty of care towards all employees, to protect them and keep them safe while they’re on the premises. The good news is that health & safety procedures don’t have to be expensive or time consuming, and are normally hugely beneficial to businesses thanks to such outcomes as a reduction in sick days taken and better staff retention levels.