Workers First Aid
by Dr. Isabel Perry,
“The Safety Doctor”
Even in the safest workplace, accidents will happen. Knowing the right steps to take will help to
resolve the situation as quickly as possible and without making the situation
worse. When an accident occurs, whether
it’s minor or serious, it should be reported immediately so that proper medical
attention can be obtained. Only attempt
to give first aid until help arrives. Be
prepared to assist in any emergency.
Know the telephone numbers to report an accident
Then do what you can for the individual or individuals who
Minor cuts and scratches:
Clean and cover to prevent contamination
Foreign particles in the eye:
Never rub the eye to remove a particle
Lift the upper eyelid and pull it outward and
down over the lower eyelid to induce tears, which can wash out small particles
If the particle is floating on the surface of
the eyeball or under the eyelid, you can try to remove it with the corner of a
clean piece of cloth.
Never try to remove an object imbedded in the
eye; have the victim lie flat, cover both eyes with sterile pads and bandage
until medical help arrives. Try to
minimize movement as that could make it go deeper.
Try to stop the bleeding if possible
Have the victim lie down and apply pressure on
the wound with a sterile pad or the cleanest piece of cloth you can find
If the cloth become saturated with blood – keep
adding more pads – do not remove any of them
If the wound is on an arm or leg, you can raise
the wounded part above the heart
Continue to apply direct pressure
NEVER use a tourniquet unless you’re
willing to lose a limb to save a life.
Also, NEVER remove a tourniquet once it is applied.
Unless the person is in danger, don’t move them
until the broken bones are stabilized by splints. Splinting should be done by a professional
If the accident could have caused broken bones,
again, don’t move the victim unless there is a danger, until a medical
professional can assess the damage and direct the application of any splints
that may be needed
If splashed with a chemical, the best treatment
is to flush the areas that came into contact with the chemical with water for
This includes chemical that may have been
splashed into the eyes. You may need to
hold the eyelids open gently to make sure they are properly rinsed.
After 15 minutes of flushing, seek medical
Shock: It is not
unusual for someone to also be in shock
Are they weak and confused?
Is their skin pale, cold and clammy?
Do they feel nauseated, or like they are going
Do their eyes appear vacant with dilated pupils?
If they have any of these
Actions to take:
Have them lie down – they should be flat on
their backs with their feet slightly elevated.
If they have head injuries, the head should be
elevated on pillows.
Place a blanket over them – keep them warm
Don’t give them any fluids
Get professional help immediately
There are many reasons why a person might lose
consciousness: falls, fainting, heart attack or stroke, or possibly being
overcome by chemical fumes such as carbon monoxide or hydrogen sulfide. If a person is unconscious:
Make sure they’re breathing
Get medical help immediately
If they’re bleeding – try to stop it
Do not move them unless they are in danger of
If you suspect that they have been overcome by chemical
fumes – do not attempt to rescue them unless you are properly trained and have all
the necessary equipment. Don’t become a
victim yourself while trying to help.
All injuries should be reported
Minor cuts and scratches need to be cleaned and
Don’t try to remove imbedded particles from the
eyes; only particles that float or are under the eyelid
Apply constant pressure to stop bleeding and
possibly elevate the wound. Only use a tourniquet as a last resort.
Broken bones should be splinted by a
professional before moving
Flush any chemical exposure with water for 15
minutes; hold eyelids open to flush if eyes were splashed
Shock victims should be kept warm and quiet
until help arrives
Attempt rescues only if you are trained properly
Do not move injured persons until medical help
arrives, unless the injury is minor or the person is in danger
Knowing what to do when an accident occurs can prevent
further injury and even save a life!
Dr. Isabel Perry is
an internationally-known safety expert, motivational speaker, author and safety
educator. Based in Orlando, Florida, she can be reached at 407-291-1209 or via e-mail at