Burn Injuries in the Workplace and how to treat them

No matter how effective our preventive measures may seem to be, accidents are bound to happen at the workplace. One of the most common types of accidents that occur in the workplace are burns, especially in chemical industries. Both electrical and chemical equipment can be sources of burn injuries in the workplace.

Burns tend to damage the skin due to the high temperatures. Anyone dealing with a burn victim is required to be extra careful to avoid inflicting further pain on the victim. When the burns aren’t severe, they can easily be treated with simple first aid. However, some burns may be too severe and even life- threatening which will require immediate medical attention as well as on the spot first aid.

All employees need to have sufficient knowledge on how to treat minor burns in the workplace and how to care for life-threatening burns until the time a medical expert will arrive and take over. They should be able to identify the difference between a minor and fatal burn. Continue reading “Burn Injuries in the Workplace and how to treat them”

Reporting and recording injuries in the workplace

The key to a safer workplace is acceptance that the worst may indeed one day happen. Making your workplace safer can involve training, the installation of safety equipment and raising awareness regarding potential risks on site.  Reporting and recording injuries when they happen is a vital requirement for effective health and safety.

All workplace injuries must be addressed no matter how minor they seem. Depending upon type of sector your business operates in the kind of injury will vary but the most common ones include; cuts, sprains, fractures, burns, bleeding and lifting associated injuries such as pulled muscles.

Any incident within the workplace must be logged and reported following the legislation set out by the HSE or Health & Safety Executive body for the UK has set out legislation that states that any incident within the workplace must be logged and reported under the RIDDOR act (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations). Continue reading “Reporting and recording injuries in the workplace”

How to treat burns – First Aid

Burns are the most common household injury and unfortunately a regular occurrence in certain work environments.  This article discusses how to treat burns.

More than 1 million people in the UK seek medical treatment for burn-related injuries each year.  50,000 people are hospitalised due to burn-related injuries.  4,500 people die from burn related injuries.

Burns should always be treated as serious regardless of severity.  Before treating a burn-related injury however, it is important to first determine the type and degree of the burn. Continue reading “How to treat burns – First Aid”

First Aid – What to do for electrical burns

Electrical burns can be caused either by low or high voltage current.  High voltage currents can jump distances of up to 18 meters (known as “arcing”).  In such instances do not approach the casualty; stay at least 25 meters away until the power source has been turned off and contact emergency services.

With all electrical burns, there may be visible wounds on the skin where the electric current has entered and shocked the body.  Internal damage to the body may also have occured and can range from an irregular heart beat to cardiac arrest.

Continue reading “First Aid – What to do for electrical burns”

The Difference Between Sprains, Strains and Breaks

In the workplace accidents, can happen at any time. Continuing our recent articles on health and safety this article covers some basic observations to help identify the differences between sprains, strains and breaks.

Any injury in the workplace can be costly If you cannot identify the problem, then getting the solution becomes even more daunting and hectic. Sprains, strains and breaks are all related and if you have experienced either of them, then you know what severe pain is. The three conditions are musculoskeletal disorders that normally affect the body’s musculoskeletal system or movement. In most cases, this disorder affects the tendons, nerves, ligaments, muscles, blood vessels among other body organs.

 

Musculoskeletal Injuries: The differences between Sprains, Strains and Breaks

Sprains

• A sprain happens as a tear or a stretch of a ligament which is the tissue connecting 2 bones. They support and stabilize the body’s joints enabling them to be flexible. A good example is the knee ligament connecting the two bones on the upper and lower side.

• Sprains happen following a fall, blow or twist on your body. They cause the affected joint to overstretch injuring or even rupturing the supporting ligaments.

• A mild sprain takes place when the ligament overstretch, but a severe sprain is where the ligament tears completely separating from the bone.

 

Strain

• A strain is a tear, twist or pull of a tendon and/or a muscle in the body. Tendons are defined as the cords of tissues that normally connect bones and muscles.

• Strains are caused by prolonged overuse of tendons and muscles without enough rest. Some of the signs of strains include; swelling, pain, inflammation, cramping muscle spasm and muscle weakness.

• Mild strains are rarely noticed, but severe ones can result to serious injuries following a complete rapture of the tendon and the muscles. Some of the common strains include back strain and hamstring muscle strain

 

Breaks

• Just like the name suggests, a break is a split, fracture or a complete break in the bone. Such injuries are caused by accidents, bone weakness or sports injuries.

• Unlike strains and sprains, breaks require immediate attention from a qualified doctor to ensure fast and proper healing.

 

In all cases if these injuries happen in the workplace you need to make sure it is noted in the company accident log and more importantly that the employee or visitor affected is taken to hospital where the injury causes pain.
TutorCare offer a wide range of training course that covers first aid in the workplace.  As well as identifying and offering advice on the above our courses discuss treatment for unconsciousness, shock, bleeding, burns and scalds.

 

The following is a list of currently available courses through TutorCare.

How To Properly Care For A Minor Workplace Injury

Minor cuts, scrapes, bruises and burns… they’re a part of daily life with most of them taking place in the home. However, it’s not uncommon for them to occur in a place of employment. A majority of companies have some type of accident policy (with risk assessment) that dictates what happens in these types of cases.

For instance, if a wound is extremely deep (is in need of stitches) or something foreign has become embedded in the body, medical attention is sought right away.

Also in the policy, employers layout that they have a legal obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees. One such obligation is to provide a dedicated first aid responder to help them deal with the relatively small injuries – to stave off the possibility of infection.

 

Clean Wounds With Soap and Running Water

When you treat a person, you want to make sure your hands are clean – soap and warm water. If not possible, use an antibacterial wipe or wash. With clean hands, you’ll reduce the chance for further contamination.

Be sure to use cool water to eliminate the debris and dust in and near the wound. Place the wound directly under running water or put clean water onto the wound. You can use an antibacterial wipe or soap to clear out the debris and dirt.

Clean water that’s cool to the touch is often ideal for minor cuts, scrapes and burns. If you put something stronger on the wound, it could cause additional injury to occur.

 

Place Pressure On The Wound To Stop The Bleeding

Most minor cuts such as paper cuts or hang nails will quit bleeding eventually. And, a minute amount of blood is often helpful to clean the cut. Many times, the head and hands will bleed excessively because of the amount of blood vessels in these areas. The best thing to do is not to panic, place pressure onto the wound using gauze or clean cloth. Again, you’ll need to clean it up.

If you notice any blood coming through the cloth, just keep putting pressure on the wound. Don’t pick the cloth up to see how the bleeding is doing. This may inadvertently cause it to bleed once again.

When the cut is on the hand or arm, raising it above the head will slow the bleeding down. If the bleeding continues for more than three minutes or begins spurting, you need to get medical help immediately.

In most cases, the body will take care of the injury itself. The best thing to do is to keep calm and keep the injured person calm as well. With a firm level of pressure placed on the wound, the bleeding will eventually stop.

 

Apply Antibiotic Cream/Ointment and Cover The Affected Area

In order to reduce the chances of infection at work, it’s important to use an antibiotic cream or ointment and cover the area. For instance, you can place a thin layer of Savlon, so the area is moist and won’t scar.  Cover the wound, using a sterile bandage or gauze pad and tape.

The majority of companies keep the first-aid kit on standby and in a centralized location.

When the wound is small and protected by clothing, the person may decide that leaving it uncovered is best. This may be fine in some instances, but it’s prudent they understand that leaving it uncovered could result in more bleeding if it’s hit.

If a dressing is applied to the wound, it’s important that’s it changed at least once per day to reduce the risk of dirt build-up so an infection can’t set up.

Since it’s a workplace injury, the supervisor or first-aid responder needs to be made aware of the incident. It should also be recorded in the “accident book.”  It’s imperative that all workplace injuries get reported no matter how minute the injury.

 

When To Seek Medical Assistance

When it comes to minor cuts, burns and scrapes, medical assistance is often not needed. However, they still need to be reported to the employer. If the designated first responder isn’t available, medical attention may be required in instances of the following:

  • The cut is deep (at least a quarter inch or more), the cut’s edges are jagged, or you can see muscle and/or fat. In these cases, you may need stitches
  • It’s a facial wound
  • The wound is the result of a dirty or rusty object
  • The dirt and debris isn’t completely from the wound
  • The wound is the result of a human or animal bite
  • The wound area is getting bigger or is numb
  • It’s a puncture wound that may need a tetanus shot

 

Watch For Signs Of Infection

If it appears the wound isn’t healing as it should, it’s time to see the doctor. What signs of infections should you be mindful of?

  • Fever
  • Pain increase
  • Pus or other leaky fluids from the damaged region
  • Warmth, swelling and inflammation
  • Red streaks in the region

 

What Happens During The Healing Process?

Most cuts and scrapes will heal within a week. In the healing process, a scab will form over the area. The scab blocks any dirt and germs from getting into the wound, allowing new skin to form underneath.  It’s not uncommon for the area to itch for several days, but it’s highly important not to scratch or pick the scab. Allow the scab to fall for itself – usually when the new skin is ready.

First aid in the workplace is just as important as it is at home. There are many courses that can teach you proper first aid protocols to follow for workplace injuries.  Take part in them and become a first-aid responder for your employer.

Choking

A foreign object that is stuck at the back of the throat may block the throat or cause muscular spasm.

Young children especially are prone to choking. A child may choke on food, or may put small objects into their mouth and cause a blockage of the airway.

If the blockage of the area airway is mild, the casualty should be able to clear it; if it is severe they will be not be able to speak, cough or breathe and will eventually lose consciousness.

How to Recognise a:

Mild Obstruction:

  • Casualty will be able to breathe, speak, cry or cough
  • Severe obstruction

Severe Obstruction:

  • Casualty will be unable to breathe, speak, cry or cough
  • Casualty will eventually lose consciousness unless they are given assistance

Treatment for adult or child

Your aims are to remove the obstruction and to arrange urgent removal to hospital if necessary.

If the obstruction is mild:

  • Encourage them to continue coughing
  • Remove anything that is an obvious obstruction from the mouth

If the obstruction is severe:

Give up to 5 back blows

  • Look inside the mouth and remove anything causing an obvious obstruction

If the obstruction has not moved:

  • Give up to 5 abdominal thrusts
  • Look inside the mouth and remove anything causing an obvious obstruction

If the obstruction has not been cleared after repeating the cycle of back blows and abdominal thrusts three times

Call an ambulance by dialling 999 or 112

Keep repeating the pattern until help arrives

To see images and a video of actions that can be performed by a trained adult go here – What to do when a baby or infant chokes (For trained professionals)

SB (07/17)

Are your staff able to administer first aid in an emergency?

It is a legal requirement for each UK workplace to have at least one trained first aider, whether in offices, outdoor working areas and especially within health and social care environments.

However, the owners and managers of businesses and organisers need to prepare for situations in which their first aider is unable to perform his or her duties. This could be because of annual leave, illness or perhaps the first aider is the one who needs medical attention.

You could send two or three of your staff members on first aid training courses, but it makes much more sense to ensure that as many of your workforce as possible receive training on what to do in a medical emergency. This will help to create a safer working environment overall, with every member of staff confident in their ability to react in an emergency and potentially save their colleagues lives.

As part of first aid training, your staff members need to learn about:

– Managing emergency situations
-CPR and basic life support
– Controlling bleeding
– Dealing with head injuries and unconsciousness
– Reacting to choking
– Treating shock
– Treating sprains and wounds

It is also important to remember that emergency first aid training needs to be refreshed every so often, to keep your first aiders updated and the life-saving information fresh in their minds.

Your responsibilities as an employer for first aid training

As the owner or manager of a business which has employees, you have certain responsibilities with regards to health and safety, fire safety and first aid provision. It is very important that you understand these responsibilities, not only to adhere to government regulations but also to protect your business and its employees.

When it comes to first aid, you have both a legal and moral obligation to make sure your staff are provided with first aid training. New rules were implemented by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on the 1st of October 2009 requiring all employers to conduct an assessment of first aid training needs within the business.

It is recommended that at least a few of your staff members, the designated first aiders in the business, undergo First Aid at Work and Emergency First Aid at Work courses. These courses last 3 days and 1 day respectively.

Another important responsibility you have as an employer is to make sure your staff’s first aid training knowledge and skills are always up to date. The HSE recommends sending employees on annual First Aid Refresher courses, which generally take half a day to complete.

North Yorkshire employers face prosecution over lack of first aiders

Employers in the Selby area of North Yorkshire have been warned that they could face prosecution for not having proper first aid cover should a serious injury or even a fatality occur in their workplaces.

Most organisations are obliged by law to have enough first aiders, who have been on the necessary first aid training courses and who have the relevant qualifications, to cover the whole business. This often means having a few first aiders to cover illness, annual leave or other absences.

However, the first aid charity St John Ambulance has completed some research recently which shows that as many as 79 per cent of businesses in the North Yorkshire and Teesside areas are not meeting their first aid obligations. These businesses were found to have periods when there was no qualified first aider on the premises, which could lead to prosecution should an employee become injured or even lose their life after an accident.

Mike Nye, who is the marketing manager for the North East branch of the charity, said:

“Employers have a legal responsibility to provide first aid training but more importantly we’re talking about giving staff vital skills which could mean they’re the difference between a life lost and a life saved when faced with an emergency in the workplace.”