Why everyone in the workplace needs basic first aid knowledge

Kerrie-Anne Chinn, Content & Editorial Manager

Would you know what to do in the event of an emergency? How do you think you would respond if there was an accident in your workplace?

Accidents and medical emergencies can happen anytime and anywhere – including the workplace. If an incident occurs at work, having someone with basic first aid knowledge can mean the difference between life and death.


There are many situations in which immediate first aid will be necessary before the patient is taken to hospital – accidents, seizures, heart attacks, and other medical emergencies.

Those first few minutes after an accident or emergency are crucial. Immediate first aid assistance can save lives before a more qualified medical person arrives at the scene. And an employee who is trained in first aid can help to manage the situation before it escalates.

The best way to feel prepared is to enrol in basic first aid training.

This training will help you to develop the skills – and confidence – you need to know how to respond in an emergency situation.

All workplaces need first aid training

First aid training isn’t just for people working in high-risk industries or job roles.

Whether your workplace is considered high or low risk for first aid incidents, it pays to be prepared. It’s not just constructions sites or factories that present a risk to employees – team members can still experience serious cuts, burns, falls or medical emergencies in an office environment.

As Safe Work Australia reminds us, “incidents can happen without warning and in every type of workplace – it is critical you are prepared for any first aid emergencies that could happen in yours.

Everyone in the workplace should have basic first aid knowledge, to know how to act and respond in a critical situation.

What you’ll learn in basic first aid training

Wondering what you’ll learn in your first aid training course?

Basic first aid works on the principle of following specific steps to ensure the patient is treated with optimum care at all times, while not causing any further damage.

Courses will differ, but in general a basic first aid training course will cover:

  • CPR skills (for adults and/or children)
  • Bleeding
  • Burns
  • Poisoning
  • Shock
  • Respiratory emergencies.

You’ll finish your basic first aid training with the knowledge, skills and confidence you need to help save a life.

You’ll also learn what you cannot do, which is really important. When responding to an emergency situation in the workplace, remember that your job is to help someone who is ill or injured and to keep them safe until professional medical treatment arrives.

When it comes to first aid, training should be repeated on a regular basis to make sure you keep your knowledge and skills refreshed and up-to-date.

The responsibility of employers for first aid

Did you know Australian employers have a responsibility to provide first aid equipment and procedures in the workplace?

If you’re running a business, you’re legally required to provide first aid equipment in the workplace, in locations that all staff can easily access, and close to areas that present higher risk of accident or injury.

If you’re a large worksite or organisation, spread out across a number of floors or buildings, this means providing multiple first aid kits. If employees travel for work, kits must also be present in all company vehicles.

Your business must also make sure there’s an adequate number of trained first aid providers that employees can go to for assistance. As a rule of thumb, Safe Work Australia advises that there should be one first aider for every:

These first aid officers must hold a current first aid certificate that is relevant to their state, and have the skills and knowledge to handle the situation until further medical assistance arrives, if necessary.

This is all part of being compliant with workplace safety laws and regulations, while providing a safe work environment for employees.

If you’re interested in becoming a first aid officer for your workplace, talk to your employer about first aid training. The more people with basic first aid knowledge in the workplace, the better.

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