FIRST AID BASICS

Contractors are required to have at least one person on the worksite with first aid training. However, it is a good idea for everyone to have some basic knowledge of first aid.

All jobsites must have a readily accessible first aid kit that meets ANSI standards (ANSI Z308.1-2015). Keep in mind that ANSI standards are minimum. You may need to supplement your kits with additional supplies and equipment based on your access to emergency medical services or to handle severe injuries, injuries to multiple patients or CPR on more than one person.

To ensure the safety of everyone on your jobsite:

  • Maintain your first aid kits in a place that is accessible to everyone. All contractors should know the location of the kits. Never lock them up.
  • Inventory your first aid kits regularly to ensure emergency supplies are ready. Designate someone to be responsible for maintaining and restocking the kits.
  • Make sure all contractors know who the first aid responders are on their jobsite and how to contact them. There should be a first aid responder for each shift, including holidays.
  • Make sure the first aid responder is easy to identify. Usually a sticker on the safety helmet will suffice.
  • Provide at least one accessible phone that dials out to 911.
  • Keep enough PPE on hand.

Keep a bloodborne pathogen protection kit with your first aid kit. This kit should include nitrile exam gloves, eye protection, an apron and CPR shield/mask.

FIRST AID RESPONSE

  • Immediately contact your on-site first aid responder.
  • If necessary, have someone call 911.
  • Remove the hazard from the victim if it is safe to do so. Do not move the victim unless it is absolutely necessary (i.e., patient is in immediate danger).
  • Remain with the victim and give reassurance. Unless you absolutely need to signal or call for help, stay with the person at all times.
  • Once you’ve established that the victim is breathing and has a pulse, look for bleeding. Your first priority should be to stop any bleeding. Use direct pressure on a wound before trying any other method to manage the bleeding.
  • Make the person as comfortable as possible, but do not move the injured person’s head or prop it up on a pillow.
  • Do not give the victim food or drinks. It is appropriate to moisten their lips if they need it.
  • Do not allow the person to smoke.

These are just a few things each person should know about first aid. While most of us won’t be the designated first aid responder, there may be instances where you will need to step in until the first responder arrives.

Download the printable PDF and Recording Form here.

BLOODBORNE PATHOGENS

Pathogens are bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms that can cause disease. Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood, saliva and other bodily fluids that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Bloodborne pathogens can be transmitted when blood or other body fluids from an infected person enters another person’s body due to a needle-stick, bites, cuts, abrasions or through mucous membranes like the eyes.

  • If you help someone who is bleeding or if you are potentially exposed to blood or other potentially infectious body fluids, you must wear personal protective equipment such as disposable gloves and eye protection.
  • If blood or other possible infectious body fluid is on your gloves, dispose of the gloves properly by putting them in a biohazard waste bag. If you do not have a biohazard waste bag, put the gloves in a plastic bag that can be sealed before you dispose of it.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and running water after you remove and dispose of the gloves.
  • It is important that any blood or other potentially infectious body fluids is quickly and completely cleaned up with soap and water to limit the chance of exposing your coworkers to bloodborne pathogens. Wear personal protective equipment when cleaning up blood or potentially infectious body fluids.
  • Hands are the areas that are most likely to be exposed to blood or other potentially infectious body fluids. Wash your hands with soap and running water after contact with blood or other potentially infectious body fluids to reduce your chance of becoming sick or spreading germs to others.
  • It is very important that you report any exposures to blood or other potentially infectious body fluids to your supervisor. Reporting all exposures helps you get treatment and helps your employer identify and reduce causes of exposure.

Maintain a first aid kit which includes gloves, eye protection and a proper means to dispose of the infected material. Antiseptic hand cleaner or towelettes should also be provided.

Personnel should be properly trained in first aid response and how to correctly handle and dispose of potentially infected material.

Download the printable PDF and Recording Form here.

Asphalt Safety

Originally published 05/16/2018

Working on the ground during asphalt paving can be a high-risk occupation. There are hazards of working close to vehicle traffic, heavy equipment, complex machinery, and hot asphalt. Ground workers must always be aware that the traffic near the work area is ultimately controlled by individual drivers who may be inexperienced, unskilled, inattentive, or impaired. There is often no safeguard against these drivers other than the asphalt worker’s constant alertness and attention to the conditions of the jobsite.

Exercise caution when trucks are delivering asphalt. Do not move between the paving machine and backing trucks. Do not work or stand near the hopper of the paving machine when a materials truck is making its initial dump. General repairs must not be made to powered equipment until workers are protected from movement of equipment. Unsafe conditions and situations must be reported to supervisors immediately. Schedule work during low traffic hours if possible. During night operations, precautions need to be taken to yet even a higher level. Where possible light traffic control devices, reduce traffic speeds, and reduce spacing of traffic control devices.

Flaggers must be in a good physical condition, mentally alert, and have the ability to react quickly in an emergency. Flaggers vests, shirt, or jacket must be fluorescent orange, yellow, or yellow-green. Night time work requires retro reflective wear.

To protect against health hazards when working with hot asphalt, wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), which includes:

  • Safety goggles or safety glasses.
  • Chemical resistant and heavy-duty gloves.
  • Respirator when appropriate.
  • Hard hat.
  • Long sleeved shirts.
  • Ear muffs or plugs.
  • High waterproof work boots.
  • Pants without cuffs that extend over the top of the boots.

Wash hands before eating and leaving the work site. Use soap or other safe cleaners. Eat lunch where the wind will blow fumes away from you. Shower after work as soon as possible. Change work clothes before going home to keep asphalt and solvents out of your car and home.

All workers should be trained in first-aid procedures in case of injury.

Download a recording form here.

Preventing Soft Tissue Injury

Originally published 08/16/2017

Soft tissue injury is one of the most common injuries in construction. Soft tissue refers to tissues that connect, support or surround other structures and organs of the body. Here are some of the most common soft tissue injuries reported in construction:

  • Muscle sprains and strains;
  • Injuries to muscles, ligaments, intervertebral dics and other structures in the back;
  • Injuries to nerves, ligaments and tendons in the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck or legs;
  • Abdominal hernias; and
  • Chronic pain.

These injuries can occur suddenly or over a prolonged period of time. Risk factors for soft tissue injuries include awkward postures, repetitive motion, excessive force, static posture, vibration and poorly designed tools. The good news is that soft tissue injuries, and the conditions caused by them, are preventable.

The following precautions can help prevent soft tissue injuries:

  • Stretch before you use your muscles.
  • Avoid bending or twisting the back or neck.
  • Avoid overexertion.
  • Use ladders to reach overhead objects and mechanical equipment to carry and move heavy materials.
  • Use proper lifting techniques. Lift with your legs, not your back.
  • Make the most of your break times and stretch muscles that have become tense from continuous sitting and/or exposure to vibration.
  • Use tools properly. When possible, keep tools between your waist and shoulder height, which is considered the “lifting zone.” This gives you the most leverage, and allows the strongest muscles to do the work.
  • Keep your work area clean and free of hazards. Pick up loose objects from the floor, and clean up spills immediately to eliminate tripping and slipping hazards.

Take action today. Decide what you can do right now to help prevent a soft tissue injury, and then do it. You’ll end up with a safer workplace and fewer workplace injuries.
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