Guidance for First-Aiders during COVID-19

Guidance for First Aiders During COVID-19 | Griffiths & Armour

Administering first aid effectively will continue to be a vital part of any organisations health and safety action plan.  However, with the COVID-19 pandemic and as businesses start the process of welcoming staff back and reopening, adapting to the new working environment and distancing measures should also include how you and your colleagues who are trained as first aid responders will facilitate first aid in the workplace.

The HSE has issued guidance for first aiders during COVID-19, designed to allow them to maintain social distancing wherever possible and reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

First aiders should try to maintain a safe distance from the casualty as much as possible, and if the casualty is capable, ask them to follow instructions. First aiders should also try to keep out of a shared breathing zone as much as possible to prevent the spread of the virus.

The HSE provides first aid responders with some useful guidance on how to use the 3P model whilst also considering important COVID-19 distancing guidelines:

Preserve Life – CPR

  • Call 999 immediately
  • Ask for assistance and use a portable defibrillator if available.
  • Before starting CPR, use a cloth or towel to cover the casualty’s nose and mouth whilst permitting breathing to restart.
  • Use a fluid-repellent surgical mask, disposable gloves, eye protection and apron or other suitable covering, where available.
  • Only deliver CPR by chest compressions, do not use rescue breaths.

Prevent Worsening and Promote Recovery

  • Call 999 if you suspect a serious illness or injury and inform the call handler if the patient has any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Use a fluid-repellent surgical mask, disposable gloves, eye protection and apron or suitable covering, where available.
  • After delivering first aid, ensure disposable items are discarded, and reusable items are cleaned thoroughly. Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitiser as soon as you can.

After delivering any first aid

  • Ensure you safely discard disposable items and clean reusable ones thoroughly.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser as soon as possible.

Further guidance on first aid is available via RMworks, Griffiths & Armour’s online risk management portal.

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