First aid kit advice pt.1 – what should be in a first aid kit?

Having adequate first aid supplies is a very important part of any workplace’s health and safety measures, but it can be difficult to work out exactly what and how much you need.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) doesn’t stipulate what businesses should keep in their first aid kits, nor does the organisation endorse any particular products. However, you can get British Standard first aid kits for your workplace which generally contain all you need. These kits usually contain:

• Burn dressings
• Finger dressings
• Saline cleansing wipes
• Triangular bandages
• Dressings in a range of sizes
• Sterile eye pads
• Washproof plasters in a range of sizes
• Safety pins and scissors
• A foil blanket
• Disposable powder free gloves
• Tweezers
• Conforming bandages
• Eye wash
• A mouth-to-mouth resuscitation shield
• A first aid guidance leaflet

The larger your business and the more people who use the workplace, the more first aid kits you should have on the premises. You may also want to choose larger first aid kits which contain multiples of everything listed above.

It is also very important to stock your first aid kits according to the findings of your health and safety risk assessment, to ensure that your first aid supplies meet the needs and demands of your particular circumstances. Lastly, you need a responsible person who has undergone first aid training to be able to use the kit and administer first aid.

First aid kit advice pt.2 – where should first aid kits be kept?

Having well-stocked first aid kits and enough supplies for everyone in the workplace (see part 1 of this guide) is incredibly important. However, it is also important to keep your workplace first aid kits in the right places.

There are a few simple things to remember when deciding where to keep your first aid kits. Primarily, your first aid kits need to be easily accessible. The last thing you want is for someone to need first aid but the kit full of medical supplies cannot be found. Place your kit in a communal area that everyone can get to easily and send out an email or a memo to let everyone know where it is. Better yet, arrange for your staff to undergo first aid training so they know how to use the kit as well.

The second thing to remember when placing your first aid kits is to make them highly visible. All you need to do is to mark the kit’s location with a sign – a white cross on a green background is widely recognised as the symbol for a first aid kit and should help everyone to find the first aid kit if they need to use it.

The importance of activities planning in care environments

In addition to meeting primary needs, respecting dignity and privacy and caring for people using care services, care facilities and staff must also ensure their users have the best quality of life possible. A huge part of this, but one that is often overlooked, is a varied and stimulating schedule of activities.

There are many benefits to planning activities for care home residents, such as improving wellbeing, health and quality of life. However, not just any programme of activities will suffice. The National Association for Providers of Activities for Older People (NAPA) firmly believes that activities should match up with individual’s interests, background and abilities.

To deliver a programme of activities to meet the needs of many residents at once, a trained and committed activities coordinator is required. Care staff with many other duties and responsibilities cannot be expected to plan activities to the required level, so a role should be created within care environments for an activities coordinator. The person to fill this role should ideally undergo a specialised care training course for activities coordinators, where they will develop their skills and deepen their understanding of activities planning for care environments.

Poor fire safety standards at Sunderland hostel uncovered

After being called to a fire at a hostel in Sunderland, firefighters have uncovered serious fire safety violations including fire doors that were shut and padlocked.

The fire broke out at the Norfolk Hotel, a former 42-bed hotel that is now being used as a hostel accommodating 37 people, in November 2012. The blaze started in a bedroom, and firefighters discovered when they arrived on the scene that the nearest fire exit to this room was locked shut with a heavy-duty bike lock. This meant that if residents needed to use the fire exit to escape the blaze, they would have been unable to and might have had to risk a more dangerous escape route.

Other breaches of fire safety law were uncovered by a fire officer who arrived to inspect the premises following the fire, including insufficient fire safety training for staff members at the hostel. There was also a lack of manually operated fire alarm call points, which would enable people to set off the fire alarms in case of fire, and a lack of regular fire drills.

The owners of the hostel have now been fined for the breaches at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court. In total, the managers and licensee were fined £6,880 and ordered to pay£3,911 in court costs.

Booths fined £27,500 for breaching food hygiene rules

The supermarket chain Booths has been fined £27,500 after it pleaded guilty to breaching food safety regulations.

The charges relate to a Booths store in Lytham, where food safety inspectors found products for sale that were past their sell-by date and an ox tongue that contained listeria bacteria. Commenting on the visit to the Lytham store, Fylde Council’s cabinet member for environment and partnerships, Councillor Tommy Threlfall said:

“The council’s investigation of Booths revealed some quite shocking examples of ignorance of food safety. The ox tongue turned out to be tip of the iceberg as we discovered that fresh mussels and oysters were being managed beyond the shelf-life policy.”

The investigation was launched after a customer at the store was infected with listeria, but this was later found to have been caused by one of Booths’ suppliers.

Booths has been fined £27,500 for the breaches, and it has confirmed that steps are being taken to address the issues raised. This may mean checking the source of food products more carefully, reviewing the chain’s food safety management system or investing in better food hygiene training for staff members.

CQC orders Cornwall care home to improve care standards

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has ordered a care home in Cornwall to make urgent improvements to its standards of care or it could face further action.

The Cornwallis Nursing Home, which is located in St Ives and accommodates around 50 patients, was told that it needed to improve in seven major areas. Many of the improvements needed could be effected by improved care training for staff members, particularly in relation to respecting the privacy and dignity of residents.

Issues uncovered by CQC officers at the Cornwallis home, which specialises in dementia treatment, included:

• Cleanliness, hygiene and infection control
• Consent from residents for care and treatment
• The overall care and welfare for people using the home’s services
• Supporting care workers
• Medicine management
• Respecting people who use the home’s services and involving them in decisions relation to their own care
• Assessment and monitoring of the quality of the service being provided by the home

There were also problems with some residents being lonely and not getting enough social interaction, whilst others were not given enough time to eat their meals.

The home will now need to take urgent action to improve in the identified areas.

Rail passengers in Leicester given basic first aid training

Passengers on trains in Leicester have been given the vital skills and knowledge they need to potentially save the lives of fellow travellers after a first aid training session took place at Leicester rail station.

As part of a first aid project headed by a first aid training specialist, rail passengers were given demonstrations of the action they’d need to take if they encountered someone who was choking, bleeding or suffering a heart attack. The demonstrations of crucial life-saving techniques took place at Leicester rail station, but other similar events in other locations will also take place over the summer.

Commenting on the training, St John Ambulance’s Carl Makins said:

“With basic first aid skills, anyone can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved, at home, school, while playing sport or just out and about.”

There are lots of ways you can learn first aid. Many people go on first aid in the workplace training courses, whilst others learn skills at school or by enrolling on basic or paediatric first aid training courses. If you’ve already had first aid training, you might also want to consider going on a refresher first aid course around a year after your initial training to keep your skills and knowledge up to date.

How often does your workplace hold a fire drill?

Can you remember the last time your workplace held a fire drill?

A fire drill is when the fire alarm sounds, all employees exit the building through the predetermined escape routes and assemble a safe distance from the building. Fire marshals, employees who have received fire safety training, will lead the exercise and make sure everyone gets out of the building safely and that the drill goes smoothly. The fire marshals will also take a roll call of everyone when outside at the assembly point, and they may even time the drill to see where improvements can be made.

If you don’t remember any of this happening at your workplace, and you’ve worked there a few years, it might be worth mentioning the issue to your manager.

Business owners have a responsibility for fire safety in the workplace, as well as for the health and safety of all employees. To make sure everyone knows where to go and what to do in an emergency, when a fire breaks out, business owners should organise a fire drill at least once a year. However, if the business is in a particularly high-risk industry, drills should be carried out more frequently.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 sets out all the fire safety duties employers and employees must comply with in order to reduce the risk of fire and injury from fire in the workplace. It covers everything from risk assessments to safety assistance and fire safety training.

It states that the responsible person must ensure that his employees are provided with adequate safety training both when they enter into employment with the company and if or when they are exposed to new or increased risks. This may be due to a change in job role or to the introduction of new work equipment, technology or work system.

Fire safety training has to:

“include suitable and sufficient instruction and training on the appropriate precautions and actions to be taken by the employee in order to safeguard himself and other relevant persons on the premises;”

Refresher courses also have to take place periodically where it is necessary, and training must be adapted should there be any new risks or changes to existing risks.

Tutorcare Fire Safety Training allows employers to ensure that they comply with the Regulatory Reform Order and that they provide their employees with the knowledge and skills they need to keep themselves and their colleagues safe from fire.

Asbestos Awareness

The importation, supply and use of all types of new asbestos have been prohibited since the 13th November 2006. This followed previous bans on using blue and brown asbestos (1985) and white asbestos (1999), and continues the ban on using second-hand asbestos and products containing asbestos.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 also make training mandatory for anyone who may come into contact with the substance in the context of their professional activities. The responsibility for compliance with these regulations lies with employers and self-employed workers.

The Regulations can affect those in the construction industry, but can equally be relevant for fire and burglar alarm fitters, general maintenance workers, and telecommunications and computer engineers amongst others.

The UKATA Asbestos Awareness Programme is a health and safety training course designed to deal specifically with the risks and challenges posed by asbestos, and complies with both the 2006 Regulations, as well the latest Health and Safety Executive Regulations.

The course demonstrates how to protect workers exposed to asbestos, how to conduct asbestos surveys and how to react in the event of an emergency. A nationally-recognised certificate, valid for one year, is issued upon successful completion of the course.