A workplace accident requires prompt action to help employees who are injured. For example, if you are nearby when a co-worker trips and hurts their leg on the job, your knowledge of first aid could prove essential.
First aid refers to the immediate assistance provided to an injured individual. This assistance is intended to prevent the injured person’s condition from worsening, promote recovery and offer support until professional medical services arrive. Here are some scenarios that may require first aid and other basic precautions to consider.
Cuts and Lacerations
Should an individual receive a cut, the most important action is to stop the bleeding as quickly as possible. Have the injured person lie down, then apply direct pressure on the wound with a sterile pad or the cleanest piece of cloth you can find. If the cloth becomes saturated with blood, add more pads or cloths and secure them with a bandage.
If the wound is on an arm or a leg, and the blood flow is particularly hard to stop, you can try pressing on the brachial or femoral arteries to reduce the flow. Always seek immediate medical attention amid any incident involving profuse bleeding.
You may also need to work with chemicals from time to time. Should chemicals get into someone’s eye, use the emergency eyewash station. If one is unavailable or not nearby, dilute the chemical by pouring water into the eye. Pour at least a quart of water into the corner of the eye so that it runs over the surface and flows out the other side.
If chemicals get onto an individual’s skin, wash the area repeatedly with large amounts of water. Remove any contaminated clothing. Check the label on the chemical to see if any additional steps should be taken. Call 911 if the affected individual experiences dizziness, nausea, chest pains or shortness of breath.
If a foreign particle gets embedded into someone’s eye, do not try to remove it like you would a chemical. Instead, have the injured person lie flat, place a sterile pad over the eye, bandage it in place and seek medical help immediately. Avoid movement that could drive the particle deeper into the eye. If the particle is under the eyelid or floating on the surface of the eyeball, you can try removing it with the corner of a clean piece of cloth. However, never rub someone’s eye when trying to remove a particle from it.
A severe accident or injury often brings on a condition called shock. A person experiencing shock may appear weak or confused, have cold or clammy skin, feel nauseous or display vacant eyes with dilated pupils.
To help someone in shock, place the individual on their back and elevate their feet unless head or chest injuries are present. Then, raise their head and shoulders with pillows. Next, place blankets over and under their body to conserve heat. Don’t administer any fluids unless professional medical services are delayed for at least 30 minutes. If that is the case, give the individual half a glass of plain, lukewarm water every 15 minutes. Stop providing fluids if the person becomes nauseated.
Remember, first aid is the best immediate response to an injury, but you should always seek appropriate medical attention afterward.
Reach out to your supervisor for additional first-aid resources.