Review your first aid arrangements
Dr Jane Renehan, Dental Compliance Ltd, urges dentists to annually review their first-aid arrangements. There is an obligation on employers to maintain a well-stocked first aid station under the control of a responsible person.
Jane tells us that Health, Safety and Welfare at Work (Regulations 2007) advise that first aid arrangements should depend on the level of risk in a workplace. The term first aid is used in the regulations to cover events ranging from preserving life to managing a minor injury. Based on her experience working with dental practices, Jane is confident that most dental practices are well trained and equipped to handle medical emergencies. However, processes for dealing with minor injuries of employees, patients and others who attend the practice may not always be as compliant. Summarising the first aid regulations, Jane recommends:
- a first aid responsible person should be appointed and named in the practice safety statement – this person should keep the first aid box well stocked and up to date;
- a designated first aid station should be suitably marked by means of a sign, easily accessible and ideally located where the most hazardous processes occur, e.g., surgery or decontamination room;
- a dental practice first aid box should contain burn dressings, eye wash solution and eye pads, wound dressings, a variety of adhesive plasters and bandages, safety pins, paramedical shears, disinfectant wipes, and sterile water (list is not exhaustive); and,
- contact details for local emergency services should be clearly displayed at the first aid station.
Health and Safety Authority (HSA) inspectors can request details on first aid events, so Jane recommends keeping a small notebook in the first aid box to record simple details, such as names of persons involved, type of injury, date and action carried out.