It’s an excellent idea for construction workers and for everyone to know first aid fundamentals: how to stop bleeding, start breathing, start a stopped heart beating again, and give any other vitally needed care until professional help arrives.
FIRST AID INSTRUCTIONS
In all cases requiring emergency medical treatment, immediately call, or have a co-worker call, to request emergency medical assistance.
Minor: Cuts, lacerations, abrasions, or punctures
- Wash the wound using soap and water; rinse it well.
- Cover the wound using clean dressing.
Major: Large, deep and bleeding
- Stop the bleeding by pressing directly on the wound, using a bandage or cloth.
- Keep pressure on the wound until medical help arrives.
- Do not move the victim unless it is absolutely necessary.
- If the victim must be moved, “splint” the injured area. Use a board, cardboard, or rolled newspaper as a splint.
- Rinse the burned area, without scrubbing it, and immerse it in cold water; do not use ice water.
- Blot dry the area and cover it using sterile gauze or a clean cloth.
- Flush the exposed area with cool water immediately for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Do not rub your eyes.
- Use the corner of a soft clean cloth to draw particles out, or hold the eyelids open and flush the eyes continuously with water.
Large or stuck particles
- If a particle is stuck in the eye, do not attempt to remove it.
- Cover both eyes with bandage.
- Immediately irrigate the eyes and under the eyelids, with water, for 30 minutes.
NECK AND SPINE INJURY:
- If the victim appears to have injured his or her neck or spine, or is unable to move his or her arm or leg, do not attempt to move the victim unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Loosen the victim’s tight clothing.
- Give the victim “sips” of cool water.
- Make the victim lie down in a cooler place with the feet raised.
- First Aid & Medical
First aid and medical service must be a part of every jobsite. The minimum OSHA requirements are:
- Medical personnel must be available for advice and consultation on occupational health matters.
- Prior to the start of the project you must make provision for prompt medical attention incase of serious injury.
- You must have an infirmary, clinic, hospital, or physician that is reasonably accessible (in terms of time and distance), or someone with a valid first aid certificate available at the worksite.
- First aid supplies must be readily available and easily accessible. First aid supplies must be checked before being sent out to the jobsite and at least weekly.
- You must have proper equipment to transport an injured employee to a physician or hospital, or a communication system set up to contract an ambulance service.
- Where 911 services are not available, you must conspicuously post emergency numbers for physician, hospital, and ambulances.
Maximum response time of fifteen minutes is currently recognized by OSHA as appropriate. In areas where accidents resulting in suffocation, severe bleeding or other threatening injury or illness can be expected; three to four minute response time is required.
If you work in areas where emergency transportation is not available, YOUR Company must provide acceptable transportation. If arrangements cannot be made to provide emergency medical service within an appropriate time frame, then a trained first aid person must be available for each shift.
Where you may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable eyewash/drenching stations must be available at your jobsite
Protecting Against Bloodborne Pathogens
WHAT ARE BLOODBORNE PATHOGENS?
They are microorganisms in human body blood or body fluid that cause disease in humans. The two bloodborne pathogens that have received the most attention and pose a serious health threat if contracted, are the hepatitis B virus (HBV), which causes a severe form of Hepatitis in some or acts as a carrier in others; and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS.
METHODS OF TRANSMISSION
Blood borne pathogens are usually transmitted or passed on when disease organisms enter the body through mucus membranes or through breaks in the skin. While intact skin offers some protection against blood borne pathogens, they maybe transmitted through the skin via accidental injection with needles, scalpels, shards of glass or biting. They may also enter the body through open cuts, nicks, skin abrasions and cracked skin caused by various types of dermatitis. At work, the most common exposure to blood borne pathogens could occur when an infected worker has an injury causing direct exposure to human blood and the person who comes to help them is not wearing the proper personal protective equipment or practicing universal precautions.
Universal precautions is a method of infection control in which all blood and certain human body fluids are treated as if known to be infectious for HIV, HBV and other blood- borne pathogens. Universal precautions are to be observed in all situations where there is a potential for contact with blood or other potentially infectious material. Personal protective equipment should be used in conjunction with universal precautions when dealing with all body fluids.
Qualified, trained first-aid providers should be equipped to safeguard against this exposure. You should be aware that there is a good possibility that you may have small nicks or cuts on you from previous jobs. These nicks and cuts, in addition to your mouth, nose and eyes are examples of possible entry-ways for blood borne pathogens, present in the injured person, to enter your circulatory system.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
Personal protective equipment, which includes latex gloves, gowns, mouthpieces, resuscitation bags, and face masks can significantly reduce the health risks for workers exposed to blood and other potentially infectious materials. The PPE must be suitable for the level of expected exposure and should be readily accessible to employees and available in appropriate sizes. Employees should be trained on the proper use of PPE and how to respond effectively and safely to an injury.
OSHA’S BLOODBORNE PATHOGEN STANDARD
OSHA’s Blood borne Pathogen Standard, 29 CFR Part 1910.1030, sets forth requirements to protect workers from occupational exposure to blood borne pathogens. The standard covers all employees, who could be reasonably anticipated as the result of performing their job duties, to face contact with blood and other potentially infectious materials. OSHA has not attempted to list all occupations where exposures could occur, however designated first aid providers are, in most cases, covered by the standard.
The standard requires employers to establish a written exposure control plan, which would identify workers with occupational exposure to blood and other potentially infectious material and specify means to protect and train them. The standard calls for engineering controls such as puncture resistant containers for used needles; work practice controls such as hand washing to reduce contamination; and personal protective equipment such as gowns and gloves. There are also requirements in the standard for housekeeping procedures, medical surveillance, Hepatitis B vaccination, signs and labels, etc. For more information on OSHA’s Blood borne Pathogen standard consult OSHA 1910.1030 standard available from your local/regional OSHA office.
When we talk of someone being injured, we usually think of serious injuries, such as those involving broken bones or where a lot of blood is lost. We don’t think much about the little incidents, such as scratches, splinters, dust in the eye, and blisters. These things don’t give us much pain nor lay us up. And if properly treated, minor injuries shouldn’t give us serious concern.
EVEN MINOR INJURIES CAN BECOME SERIOUS
When we neglect a minor injury, however, we could end up in the hospital or even six feet under. Do you think that I’m exaggerating? Consider what can happen if you let a minor cut on your arm go untreated. Germs can enter and cause infection. If the infection, in turn, isn’t treated, it can cause blood poisoning, which can be fatal.
TWO KINDS OF INJURIES OFTEN NEGLECTED
A hard blow on the head. This can make you dizzy or unconscious for a few seconds. It’s easy to overlook this injury because after-wards you may feel OK, except for a headache. What many of us don’t realize is that a blow on the head can cause a slight concussion or fracture, which can’t be detected except by a doctor. As a result we later may go to sleep and not wake up. So if you have a head injury see a doctor for a checkup.
A blow to the stomach. This can occur when you run into something or are struck by something. The blow may knock you down and take the wind out of you, but a few minutes later you may feel OK. Just because there may be no visible injury, however, is no reason for not reporting to first aid. Lt doesn’t take much of a blow to rupture an intestine or start internal bleeding. And these unseen injuries can kill you.
REPORT ALL INJURIES
The important thing to remember is to report all injuries, even though they are minor and no physical damage is apparent. Get proper first aid and see a doctor if necessary.
At our safety meetings we stress accident prevention. And we try to follow through on the job. But accidents sometimes occur despite all of our efforts.
HELPING A VICTIM MAY DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD
We all are inclined to lend a helping hand when we see a fellow worker injured and suffering. We want to ease the pain and do what ever else we can to aid in the emergency. And this is to our credit. But in some cases, we can do more harm than good. Often it’s better to let an injured person alone until professional or trained help arrives.
TRAINED FIRST AIDERS OFTEN CLOSE AT HAND
Many persons have taken Red Cross first- aid training courses, and one of them is usually close at hand. If so, follow that person’s directions. Maybe some of you have taken a first-aid course. If so, let me know, so that we can call on you for assistance in case of emergency.
REMEMBER THIS IMPORTANT RULE
For those of you who have had no training in first aid, remember this rule: “Do not move an injured person nor try to get that person to stand.” I recall a case in which a laborer suffered a crushed hip. Fellow workers helped him to stand and tried to make him walk. This resulted in intestinal damage, which killed him. In another case, a simple fracture turned into a compound fracture because witnesses persuaded the injured man to get to his feet.
A good rule to follow when there’s an injury is that unless you know what to do, get help. This applies in all cases of serious falls, collisions, crushing injuries, and severe blows by heavy objects or vehicles. Always consider the possibility of injury, even when there’s no outward evidence. Curb your natural tendency to try to get injured persons on their feet. Make the victim as comfortable as you can with the least possible movement. Then let that person alone until trained help arrives.
Persuade the victim to stay down and not get up.
IN CASE OF BLEEDING
In case of bleeding you can help by doing something to stop the flow of blood. The best way to stop bleeding is to press a clean handkerchief or cloth tightly over the bleeding area. Pressure causes the flow of blood to slow down or stop and allows clotting to take place. In some instances of severe bleeding, or in those cases where the blood can’t be controlled by pressure alone, a tourniquet may be necessary to control excessive blood loss adequately. An improperly used tourniquet, however, may cause permanent injury or lead to amputation. OSHA has published the Blood borne Pathogen Standard, which protects those who might be expected to render first aid.
FIRST-AID COURSES AVAILABLE
If any of you are interested in learning first aid, the Red Cross will be happy to have you attend its classes. You can find out where these classes are conducted by calling the local Red Cross office. First-aid courses also are provided by the U.S. Bureau of Mines