This is a debate that’s been going on for quite a time now.
It has a partial answer, with certain workplaces making red cross first aid and CPR training mandatory, but the phenomenon is far from being commonplace.
It is no small thing to be prepared for a medical emergency, especially in lines of work such as mechanical garages, construction sites and chemical labs. Some of those even have an in-house medical facility or infirmary to treat emergencies quickly on the spot.
Most other places are only required to carry a fully stocked first aid kit per number of employees, located in visible, easily reached places.
Let us examine Canadian law regarding first aid in the workplace.
Standards and Regulations
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a defined outline of what the contents of the first aid kit should be and how many kits should be in place. The first aid kit should contain 1-2 of each of its items in case of a small business (up to three employees). When the number of employees increases, the stock of first aid items in the kit has to be increased.
This is only first aid equipment however. What about red cross first aid and CPR training?
Police officers, Child Care Providers, Adult Family Home Providers and Resident Managers, Confined Space Workers, Logging Operations Workers, Electric Power Generation, Members of a Dive Team, Construction Subpart Transmission/Distribution Workers and only a handful of other professions are actually required to get red cross first aid certified.
The sad thing is there is no such obligation in most other workplaces, with every employer making their own rules.
We gave the example of OSHA regulations for first aid kits to emphasize a point. There is a government regulated rule as to what to keep on the site for cases of burns, cuts or bruises, but nothing, nothing at all, about teaching people how to use those tools. Or how to react when those tools are inadequate, such as during a cardiac or respiratory arrest.
Happily, many businesses are becoming aware of the practical sense of having a staff that knows how to deal with a medical emergency. Offices take the steps to get their staff Red Cross first aid and CPR certified to increase everyone’s safety.
If your workplace is not on board with this yet, now is the time. Get your employees red cross first aid and CPR trained and create a better, safer workplace.