In the most recent Osteopath magazine a question was asked “What First Aid First Aid requirements do I need for my practice?” and readers were referred to the HSE website. Here is a summary of the information HSE gives applied to osteopathic practice.
The Short Answer
All clinics should have a first aid kit.
Legally – an appointed person is adequate
Morally – always having someone trained in first-aid at your clinic would seem a reasonable expectation. Emergency First Aid at Work is adequate training for clinics. (presuming you don’t have more than 50 employees). You may wish to undertake additional first-aid training if you are aware of particular first-aid needs amongst your employees, colleagues or patient group.
The Longer Answer
The requirement in law – Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require you to provide adequate and appropriate first-aid equipment, facilities and people so your employees can be given immediate help if they are injured or taken ill at work.
Minimum first-aid provision on any work site is:
- A suitably stocked first-aid kit
- An appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements
- Information for employees about first-aid arrangements
Accidents and illness can happen at any time. Provision for first aid needs to be available at all times people are at work.
There is no mandatory list of items to put in a first aid box. Contents should reflect your needs assessment – what are the likely accidents and illnesses that would occur on your premises?
If people work off-site – carrying out home visits or visits to companies you need to consider their first-aid requirements. It may be appropriate to have a personal first-aid kit for home visits. You should make sure other employers have appropriate first-aid arrangements in place if you are working in their premises.
If your premises are spread out – you may consider providing a first aid kit on each floor or in each building as appropriate.
There should be an appointed person who takes responsibility for first-aid arrangements and takes charge if there is an accident or illness. They look after the first-aid kit (keeping it stocked) and calling emergency services when required.
First Aid training
There are two training courses First Aid at Work or Emergency First Aid at Work qualifications. There are also training courses for specifics first aid requirements. In your practice it may be appropriate to have a higher level of training depending on your patient group or any particular health needs of staff.
Most clinics would be considered low-level risk, unless you use dangerous machinery or chemicals.
Annual refresher training is recommended to keep skills up to date.
You do not have a legal duty to provide first-aid for non-employees i.e. the public using your services. However, the HSE strongly advises including them in your first-aid provision. From a patient perspective it would seem a reasonable assumption that you would be able to deal with any medical emergencies.
You should consider whether there would be adequate first-aid cover if certain persons were absent from your clinic.
You should have at least one first aid kit in your clinic and a person who is responsible for it. First Aid at Work training is adequate for most clinics. It would seem reasonable for all osteopaths to have up to date first aid training as part of their duty of care to patients. If all practitioners are trained there will be no issues with cover if people are absent. Practitioners could carry a personal first aid kit for home visits.
The best clinically relevant first aid course I have attended was run by Steven Bruce – fun, entertaining, clinically relevant and full of excellent examples of first aid application. Highly recommended.
All this information and more details are available from the HSE here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/firstaid/legislation.htm