The Importance of First Aid Kit

Those of us who have been involved in sporting activities or associated with sporting events are very much familiar with what used to be called ‘First Aid Box’ in our early days of schooling. If your school never had one, you must have been to the same school us me. Don’t worry too much about that. ‘First Aid Box’ as we used to call it is now known as ‘First Aid Kit.’ I’m here to take you through its importance.

Let’s first aske ourselves if we’ve one in our homes. It is one important thing most, if not all of us, overlook. We don’t really see its usefulness. It is only when we sustained some minor injuries that we run to the pharmacy shops.

You don’t need a very big First Aid Kit for your home. All that you need is a small kit with basic first aid items. Just visit a pharmacy near you and speak to the attendant to help you put one together for your personal safety and that of your family.

Meanwhile first aid always the first point of call in case injury has been sustained in an accident. It gives the injured person  relief and ‘keeps’ the victim alive until a good medical attention is received in the hospital.

 

first aid

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Just as First Aid kit is a must have for all homes, same applies to organisations. But there are several factors that influence the choice of first aid kit. We’d look at a few of them:

General risk level of the work place: how high or low is the risk at your place of work.

Accident history: accident prone company or frequency of accidents determines what first aid kit is required.

Hazards present in the work place: the type of hazard determines the first aid kit.

Presence of vulnerable persons at the work place: pregnant women, minors, hearing impairment, the deaf, etc.

Number of people at the work place: the larger the workforce, the more fully stocked first aid kits you need.

Geographical location of the work place: When the company is close to a health facility, there would be no need for fully stocked first aid kit.

Patterns of work and shift systems: hazardous works follow strict procedures and enough resources must be provided for shifts to be properly coordinated.

Specific procedures required i.e. some specific toxic materials have specific antidotes or first aid.

Now you’ve seen the  factors that usually determine what items should be stocked in a first aid kit. A company whose activities are considered high risk would have first aid kit stocked with items that are completely different from a company with low risk for example telephony services, supermarkets and schools.

Moreover, while low risk company can rely on a few fully stocked first aid kits, a high risk company will have multiples of first aid kit stationed at various locations in the work place in addition to the following: splints, blankets, stretchers, eye-wash stations, emergency showers, wheel chairs and resuscitation equipment.

Unlike homes, administering first aid in a high risk company requires a special training. It’s not the prerogative of just anyone except in extreme cases where there are minor injuries. Let me emphasize though that it all depends on the health and safety culture of the organisation you find yourself.

KEY NOTE:

Know the location of the nearest first aid kit in your workplace.

Get a first aid kit for your home and car.

What is Housekeeping?

Each one of us may have had to walk in a dark unfamiliar environment without light at one point or the other. Irrespective of the distance you have to cover under such circumstance, you find yourself walking very slowly and taking your steps with a lot of care. You behave the way you do under such circumstance so that you don’t harm yourself or to at least minimize the impact of any harm you might suffer. But when you are walking in an environment you’re very used to, you walk boldly even if there is no light.

There’s a way we arrange and organise things in our various homes. There is a place for your shoes, your clothes in your wardrobe, kitchen items are kept in the kitchen cabins, vehicle spare parts are properly arranged in the storeroom, etc. You do all these things for two main reasons: easy access and unrestricted movement at all times in your room or house. When children place items in the wrong places in the home, we ask them to pick it up and place them in their right places or we do so ourselves because we feel the presence of such item poses some amount of threat to the safety of the occupants of the home.When you wake up every day, you clean your house – you sweep, dust louvers and furniture, you also arrange items in your room, I mean you do some kind of general cleaning.  This is what the term ‘Housekeeping’ is all about.

Good housekeeping ensures your personal safety and the safety of those around you. In the home, it is about you and your family or any other person in the home with you at a given time. Whether he or she is a visitor, you owe it a duty to ensure his or her safety.

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Now let’s look at housekeeping in our various places of work. Every work place presents its own unique and complex factors in determining what kind of housekeeping that must be done. Let’s look at a workplace like bank for example. The common practice you’d find is that, they rely on the services of cleaners/janitors for their housekeeping. They clean and organise the workplace before the workers arrive. They are always on hand to place warning signs in the banking halls indicating ‘wet floors’ to ensure the safety of both customers and staff. They also alert management when they detect defects on the floor, the carpet, the switches and sockets, etc. Elsewhere in the world, this duty is performed by a specialist known as HSE.

house

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In the case of manufacturing, construction and companies that are into hazardous activities, undertaking housekeeping can be complex exercise in which every worker must partake. The health and safety culture of any organisation influences the success of its housekeeping. Common to all of these workplaces is the fact that, there are waste materials such as nails, pieces of wood, chippings and what have you, moving equipment such as forklifts, cranes, excavators and other such equipment, tools (both defective and functional), defective wires,  electric cables running over the place and raw materials.

During housekeeping, all these waste materials have to be swept and collected into waste bins. Tools of any status should not be left on the floor while cables should not be allowed to run across the floor as they usually lead to trip and fall. Excavations have to be properly cordoned off. While walking in areas being plied by forklifts and other mobile equipment, you need to watch carefully when moving into those areas. Iron rods including metal projections from the ground and in the walls of buildings under construction should be covered up with thick soft materials so that it would not cause harm to anyone. In short, anything that is not to be where it is should be removed and kept at the right place. For instance, remove items that you find in exit points/doors, don’t keep sockets behind fridges, waste paper bins and dust bins should be removed from sockets and plugs.

I must say that housekeeping is a shared responsibility. Your safety depends on others and the safety of others depends on you. However, certain organisational health and safety cultural practices such as ‘a blame game culture’ have the potential to impede effective housekeeping practices. And whereas some encourages reporting of potential hazards, for example defective chairs, others frown on it.

Whichever way, you must take steps to ensure your personal safety at all times and if possible those around you.

 

 

Key Safety Terms You Must Know

The study of health and safety covers a wide range of subject areas from chemistry, physics and biology to engineering, psychology, sociology and law. Whereas some of the topics are very easy to understand, some are more technical and requires specialist knowledge. So you can see it’s a broad subject.

Application of standard health and safety at work places, markets or offices face a lot of barriers. Due to its complex nature borne out of competing and conflicting demands, successful practice of health and safety relies on perfect behaviour of individuals to always behave in the ideal way.

Having said that, there are some key terms you must understand. These terms a very basic as it forms the foundation for your understanding of the whole concept of health and safety. Here are a few:

Safety – this means there’s no risk of serious personal injury. For example, walking under a load suspended by crane can result in loss of life. So you must avoid any such act.

Health – this means disease is not present. For example, exposing oneself to extreme stress can result in nervous breakdown. One must simply avoid practices the bring health implications.

Welfare – accessibility to basic social amenities. For example, toilet facility.

Environmental Protection – conscious efforts to prevent damage to the air, land, water and other living creatures in the wider environment. For example exhaust gases create toxic atmosphere. Avoid engaging in acts that endanger the environment.

Accident – refers to anything that is not planned for or any unwanted event that results in injury, damage or loss. For example two vehicles colliding with each other.

Risk – the likelihood of a harm being caused and the severity of the attendant injury, damage or loss that might occur. For example, being knocked down by moving vehicle.

Hazard – unsafe acts (people) or unsafe condition (machines, material, and work place) that has the potential to cause harm. For example storing items at exit point, and slippery floors.

Evacuation – moving people safely away from impending hazard.

Rescue – saving people trapped in a hazard.

Near Miss – any unwanted event that pose threat of injury, damage or loss but DID NOT, in fact DO SO. For example when you are nearly hit by vehicle.

Dangerous Occurrence – a specified event that has to be reported to the relevant authority by statute law.

Health and Safety Culture – the product of individual and group values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies and patterns of behaviour that determines the commitment to, and the style and proficiency of organisation’s health and safety management.

Better understanding of these terms help you appreciate the overall concept and scope of health and safety. We are going to meet them frequently in our further discussions. What is most important is to understand their meanings and not necessarily memorise them.