Factory workers are usually in the field of electronics or garments. Some of their responsibilities include attaching or detaching specific mechanical parts or stitching clothes, shoes and bags. They work hand-in-hand with huge machines that would transport their product to another section of the factory. The nature of work usually involves repetitive movements and frequent contact with moving machines, electric materials, sharp objects and sometimes hazardous chemicals. Exposure to these things for prolonged periods of time may increase their risk of sickness and injuries.
With an understanding of the occupational hazards involved in factory work, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) requires that factory owners have a system to address the health needs of factory workers. Using the first-aid needs assessment tool, employers assess their companies regarding its size, number of employees, possible hazards, and existing medical provision. The tool then suggests first-aid arrangements related to the answers given.
It is the responsibility of factory owners to make sure that their employees receive medical attention in the event of an injury or sickness during work hours and in the factory premises to make sure that complications are prevented and, ultimately, lives are spared.
The basic requirements for first-aid in factories are: a sufficiently-stocked first-aid box, an appointed first-aider, and information dissemination among the employees regarding the factory’s first-aid arrangements.
First-aid box. A sufficiently-stocked first-aid box is composed of equipment and medications necessary to provide immediate treatment to an injured party. It usually contains antiseptics, bandages, gauze, cotton, sterile dressings, latex gloves and basic medications. The first-aid box is located in the factory’s first-aid centre or clinic and only the appointed first-aider has access to the kit. It is therefore his responsibility to take inventory of the contents of the kit and to make sure that everything is complete and in working order. Any expired medications or solutions should be replaced immediately.
First-aiders. This is an appointed person in the factory which specializes in administering first-aid treatments to ill or injured factory employees. This person is trained and authorized by the HSE as fit to administer first-aid. His responsibilities include maintaining the completeness of the first-aid kit, supervising the first-aid room and most of all giving medical attention to injured workers. The number of first-aiders employed in a factory may vary depending on the suggestion of the first aid at work assessment tool by the HSE.
First-aid room. It is the place where an injured or ill worker can go when he needs medical attention. The room houses facilities, like sink with cold and warm water, drinking water, disposable cups, soap, paper towels, foot-operated waste bins with yellow garbage bags (signifies infectious wastes), examination bed or couch, communication lines and a record book. Only workers in need of first-aid services and the first-aider(s) are allowed access to the first-aid room. The room should be spacious enough to admit a stretcher and it should be clearly identified outside.
Work accident book. This is required in order to keep track of the cases the first-aider had attended to, in order to see any trends in the illness or injury patterns of the workers and address those.
Due to the nature of work of factory workers, it is important that their health needs are met. With the help of first-aid, these needs are met and the factory can be a place of health promotion to its workers.