First Aid Refresher – Part 1

Contractors are required to have at least one person on the worksite who has first aid training, so injured employees can receive immediate help. However, it is a good idea for everyone to have some knowledge of first aid.

Basic first aid refers to the initial process of assessing and addressing the needs of someone who has been injured or is in physical distress due to choking, a heart attack, allergic reactions, drugs or other medical emergencies. You should always seek professional medical help as soon as possible, but following correct first aid procedures can be the difference between life and death.

A simple approach to helping someone who is injured is to remember the three Cs:

Check the surroundings.

Evaluate the situation. Are there things that might put you at risk of harm? Are you or the victim threatened by fire, toxic smoke or gasses, an unstable building, live electrical wires or other dangers? Do not rush into a situation where you could end up as a victim yourself. If approaching the victim will endanger your life, seek professional help immediately. Professionals have higher levels of training and know how to handle these situations. First aid becomes useless if you can’t safely perform it without hurting yourself.


Call for help.

Call authorities or emergency services immediately if you believe someone to be seriously injured. If you are the only person on the scene, try to establish breathing in the patient before calling for help. Do not leave the victim alone for an extensive amount of time.


Care for the person.

Caring for someone who has just gone through serious trauma includes both physical treatment and emotional support. Remember to stay calm and try to be reassuring; let the person know that help is on the way and that everything will be alright.


Determine responsiveness.

If a person is unconscious, try to rouse them by gently tickling their bare hands and feet or by speaking to them. If they do not respond to activity, sound, touch or other stimulation, determine whether they are breathing. Look for a rise in the chest area; listen for the sound of air coming in and out; feel for air using the side of your face. If no signs of breathing are apparent, check for a pulse. If the person remains unresponsive, prep for CPR. Unless you suspect a spinal injury, keep the head and neck aligned and carefully roll them onto their back while holding their head. Open the airway by lifting the chin, and begin CPR. If the person begins to vomit, roll them over on their side to help prevent choking.


Keep the person warm as you wait for medical help. Drape a towel or a blanket over them if you have one; if you don’t, remove some of your own clothing (such as your coat or jacket), and use it as a cover until medical help arrives.