First aid is very important at contraction or construction sites in the United Kingdom as construction workers are exposed to high risk of work-related accidents like slips and trips, falls, skin diseases, exposure to chemicals and substances, and machinery mishandling, among other accidents. In the U.K., all contraction or construction sites must have: a first aid station or box, a designated first aider, and safety information for site workers.
The first aid station or box should be equipped properly and adequately to cater to the site workers. The first aider must facilitate arrangements regarding first aid and administer first aid when necessary. The information must inform workers of the person/s in charge of first aid and where to find them.
What are the implements needed in the first aid box or station? Need supplies are: assorted plasters, large and small sterile bandages/dressings, sterile swabs, adherent dressings, eyewash station/eyewash pods, wound wipes, accident book, scissors/tweezers, sterile gloves, blankets, disposal boxes for medical waste, and supports and braces.
Aside from the first aid box, the first aider is also important. A first aider is a qualified administrator who has a legitimate certificate in at least EFAW (Emergency First Aid Work) or FAW (First Aid Work). Aside from the first aider, the equally-important appointed person monitors first aid equipment and the person will seek – if needed- emergency services or a medical practitioner.
How many of these people are needed at the site? Only an appointed person is needed for sites with fewer than 5 workers. A first aider is needed for every 50 workers. A site with 100 workers would need two first aiders.
Contraction or construction workers risk being exposed to occupational hazards like arm-hand vibration syndrome, respiratory problems, leptospirosis (Weil’s disease), skin diseases, noise-related hearing loss, and musculoskeletal disorders stemming from manual handling of equipment.
The employee also has the responsibility to manage his health while at work. In the construction industry, occupational health may be neglected or disregarded. As construction work is high-risk, the industry could emphasize its thrust on the prevention of accidents. It is because accidents linked to construction site work are linked to injuries that are serious. It is also important to manage and control the continuing occupational risks to a person’s health.
Occupational health issues do not manifest immediately as compared to accidents. However, the effects of occupational health issues can be as distressing and harmful and could lead to suffering in the long-term. The employer should manage these risks and give the workers first aid facilities and health checks.
Moreover, the contraction worker should be aware of training and literature on safety and health procedures and on preventing occupational health issues. There may be courses on work noise, manual handling, hazardous substances control, and hand-arm vibration that a worker might want to brush up on.
In place to aid in the prevention and management of occupational health injuries should be a policy on return-to-work, stress management protocols, health surveillance, and the management of sickness absence. The bottom line is the worker should take care of himself and be armed with the right training and information on first aid and health and safety.