Life is about choice, but in business it’s about making the right decision for employees and clients. The cost of compliance and the added value that quality decisions can make are the key to successful businesses.
The wellbeing and productivity of employees can be taken for granted, but lost work days through sickness and injury can be costly to the employer, and life changing for the employee. Working together to create a safe workplace is the key to success by meeting the legislative requirements for health and safety, as well as good productivity.
Throughout New Zealand, our places of work vary immensely from multi-layered organisations to sole workers. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has good information to assist in creating a safe workplace, and in particular, to cover the requirements for on-site first-aiders and for first aid kits.
First aid is a life skill and is transportable between the home, workplace and into our sports or on the road. As an outdoor nation, chances are that at some time in our life we will be placed in a position of having to assist an injured or seriously ill person, so being prepared is incumbent on us all.
Knowledge and practical skills that have been well taught and regularly refreshed are not difficult, but selecting a reputable training provider is essential. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has published the first aid requirements and has the unit standards that are allocated to first aid training. Accredited training providers are also listed on the NZQA website.
It makes good sense to provide first aid training to all your employees, or at a minimum, a pool of key staff. By making such a minimal investment in keeping your employees safe and well-trained, you will be complying with the health and safety requirements within New Zealand.
Employers are required to provide a safe place of work for employees, and also visitors and members of the public. A full assessment of the risks and hazards is the starting point, followed by decisions on prevention and mitigation to reduce the risk of injury.
Select key staff to complete a first aid course and put in place a management process that will ensure that certificates are revalidated every two years. Here are a few things to think about:
- Select a reputable first aid training provider. For national businesses, consider picking a nationwide provider so that there is continuity and consistent standards.
- Choose a provider that has been accredited by NZQA to assess against the unit standards. These details should be clearly shown on their respective websites.
- Pick the right course to meet your needs. The workplace standard is the NZQA 6400 series delivered on a 12 hour course.
- If unsure about any first aid provider, look up their last External Evaluative Review (EER) carried out by NZQA. Ideally the provider should be a Category 1 or 2 provider.
- If selecting a shorter course, ensure that it is appropriate to the risks of your business. Don’t cut corners, so ensure that your investment is providing the right skills.
- See if the provider is able to manage the revalidation of certificates through reminders and reports.
- Avoid taking a shortcut. Regardless of any provider, a 12 hour course is just that – 12 hours) regardless of being in the class room or blended learning. Reading a first aid manual alone is not sufficient – practical and scenario based leaning is the ideal method of learning and retaining.
- If your workplace has specific risks, a reputable provider should be able to tailor the course to your needs with scenarios based around those risks.
Once committed to a training provider, consider the number and locations of first aid kits and Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). Both are essential in the workplace. Quality first aid training providers will also be able to give advice on these products, and give guidance on where they should be located. Signage and storage, as well as regular stocktaking, is essential.
First aid training is a skill for life. It has to be considered seriously as a part of sound business practice. It is not difficult to learn and nothing to be frightened of.
First aid knowledge and skills must be taken seriously. We rely on each other at work and at home, so being able to help someone in an emergency is what we all do. Get it right – learn first aid now, and have the confidence to help your work mates, family, and strangers when they most need you.