What are the first aid requirements for your practice?

The onus is on the practice owner to assess the first aid requirements for their practice.

According to the HSE the minimum that a small low-risk premises should have is a first aid box and a person appointed to take responsibility for calling the emergency services and keeping the first aid box stocked.

Consideration needs to be made of any particular first aid needs amongst staff or patient groups such as epilepsy, anaphylactic allergy, diabetes etc.  You should consider any accidents or incidents that have occurred in the past and how well equipped you were to deal with them.  On my last first aid course I was amazed how many osteopaths were able to recount incidents that had occurred in their practice including fainting, stroke, and heart attack.

Training

Most practices will consider Emergency First Aid at Work training adequate for their needs.  Certificates are valid for three years.  The HSE recommends undertaking annual refresher training but this is not mandatory.

I would highly recommend courses run by osteopaths as they will give you clinic specific first aid training.   I attended training through the Institute of Osteopathy with Steve Bruce which was by far the best course I have been on.  There are other courses provided through the colleges run by osteopaths who are first aid trainers.

In my opinion every osteopath should undergo regular first aid training as patients visit us with the expectation of seeing a trained healthcare practitioner.  It would be a reasonable assumption by the patient that a healthcare practitioner would be equipped to deal with a first aid incident.

First aid kit

Every clinic should have a first aid kit.

  • Should be easily accessible by all at all times
  • Should be regularly checked and restocked
  • If you carry out home visits you should have a first aid kit available to you

No mandatory requirements for contents but suggested contents include:

  • Leaflet giving general first aid guidance
  • Individually wrapped plasters – assorted sizes
  • Sterile eye pads
  • Individually wrapped triangular bandages
  • Large individually wrapped wound dressings
  • Medium individually wrapped wound dressings
  • Safety pins
  • Disposable gloves

Accident Reporting

All premises must have an accident book or form with removable pages for data protection purposes.  Accidents that take place on the premises should be recorded on the form.

If an accident occurs on your premises you should make a record of the accident and cross-reference to your safety policies and procedures.  You should make any corrective actions necessary.  The report will help form your defence should a complaint arise.

There are certain accidents which must be reported to the HSE.  You should be aware of this list should an accident occur on your premises:

  • Any accident resulting in death
  • An accident involving members of the public if the person is taken to hospital straight from the scene of the accident and has treatment for the injury at hospital
  • If a worker is incapacitated for more than 7 consecutive days as a result of an accident
  • Specified injuries – fracture (not digits), amputations, injury causing permanent loss or reduction in sight, crush injury to head or torso, unconscious from head injury or asphyxia, serious burns, scalping requiring hospital treatment
  • Occupation illness caused or made worse by work – carpal tunnel syndrome, sever cramp of forearm or hand, occupational dermatitis, occupational asthma, hand arm vibration syndrome, tendonitis or tenosynovitis of hand or forearm, occupational cancer, any disease from exposure to biological agent

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