Every year, more than 4 million workplace accidents result in injuries and illness. Quick and effective response at the scene of an accident can keep a bad situation from getting worse – and might even save a life!
In the event of a medical emergency, first-aid responders should follow these steps as soon as possible:
- Make sure the scene is safe. Warn employees not to rush into the scene of an accident before checking to make sure that it’s safe for rescuers to enter. Otherwise, you could end up with more victims.
- Call for help. An employee on the scene should call 911 while a trained emergency first responder tends to the victim. The employee on the phone should explain the type of injury, the exact location of the victim, and the caller’s phone number. The caller should stay on the phone in case the 911 operator has further questions. Because there’s no time to waste in an emergency and often no way to know how serious the emergency is, it’s important for employees to remain calm and act quickly and purposefully.
- Bring help to the victim. To prevent further injury, don’t move victims unless they’re in imminent danger.
- Check to see if the victim is breathing and has a heartbeat. If not, someone trained in CPR should try to keep the victim alive until EMS arrives.
- Do no further harm. Employees who provide first aid should be careful not to cause additional injuries in their attempt to help a victim. If they’re not sure what to do, they should do nothing except call for emergency medical assistance and keep the victim comfortable until help arrives. Doing the wrong thing could be worse for the victim than doing nothing. Employees should never try to do more than they know they can handle in a medical emergency!
Workers who aren’t trained in first aid or feel uncomfortable dealing with injuries can help by making the 911 call and staying on the line with the dispatcher; notifying a supervisor, the safety manager, and others; getting first-aid supplies; and/or meeting the EMS at the entrance to your facility and bringing them to the scene of the accident.
Keep workers who aren’t involved in emergency response clear of the area; and once the victim or victims are removed, cordon off the area to preserve evidence for the accident investigation.