When people are injured or fall will at work, it is important that immediate help is available and, in serious cases medical assistance is called. The arrangements for providing first aid in the workplace are set out in the Health and Safety (First Aid )Regulations 1981. Since 1982 it has been a legal requirement that adequate first aid equipment, facilities, and personnel are provided at work.
All kitchen staff need to know who they should call or inform if there is an accident, where the first aid equipment is located and the procedures they should follow when there is an injury or incident no matter how small.
First aid equipment need to be regularly checked, replenished, and maintained, and making this procedure part of a job role will ensure that the required items are always available. All injures, including minor injuries, must be recorded. This is usually done on individual recording forms that are then kept. Some organizations now record accidents on computer systems; these must also be kept for information or for inspection.
A kitchen first aid box needs to include;
- First aid guidance card (this may have details of who to contact in an emergency, the named first aiders and emergency numbers)
- Individually wrapped waterproof dressing (blue)- different size
- Sterile eye pads (eyewash)
- Individually wrap triangular bandages
- Safety pins
- Medium size individually sterile wrapped dressings
- Large sterile individually wrapped dressings
- Disposable gloves
These are the minimum contents and more items can be added to suit the need of establishment. It should be the responsibility of a named person to check the first aid box and keep it topped up.
Dealing with minor cuts and burns
Minor cuts, grazes and burns occur occasionally in kitchens because of the nature of work being completed. Most minor cuts can usually be treated using the contents of the first aid box, maybe with the assistance of an appointed first aider. For more serious cuts and burns it is important to seek advice from the first aider and get medical help as soon as possible.
Minor Cuts and Grazes
Clean cut/graze under cold running water, dry it thoroughly, and apply a blue waterproof dressing of suitable size. If necessary, also wear a disposable glove. If the cut continues to bleed and is not being contained by the dressing seek further help.
Place the injury under cold running water and keep it there for a minimum of ten minutes. (An ice pack could also be used.) If the burn is more serious and/or the skin is broken, cover lightly with a sterile dressing and seek medical help. Do not let adhesive items, creams, antiseptic or kitchen cloths come into contact with the wound.
Common Causes of Accident
There can be number of inherent hazards when working in kitchen areas. For this reason, it is important to work in a safe and systematic way in order to avoid accidents or injury to yourself or anyone else.
The following are some common causes of accidents in the kitchen;
- Slipping on a wet or greasy floor
- Tripping over objects or walking into objects
- Lifting objects wrongly or lifting loads that are too heavy
- Being exposed to hazards such as hot or dangerous substances, e.g. steam, oven cleaning chemicals
- Being hit or hurt by moving objects, such as being cut by a knife when chopping
- Fires and explosions
- Electric shocks
Certain responsibilities that employee should adhere to within their working environment;
- All employees and employers must take reasonable care of their own safety and the safety of others they work with.
- Employees must inform their line manager/supervisor if they see anything they think is unsafe and could cause an accident.
- Any procedure, equipment or protective clothing put in place for safety must be used correctly and never be modified or tampered with.
- Employees must cooperate with their employer on health and safety matters and procedures put in place to keep the working environment safe.
Employers must also ensure all staff are safe at work and not put staff in dangerous situations where they could injure themselves or others. They must provide safe methods of work for their employees. This includes:
- Producing a workplace policy document on health and safety.
- Completing risk assessments for all equipment and procedures in the workplace.
- Providing safe equipment and utensils.
- Training and supervising staff in safe practice.
- Providing first aid equipment.
- Keeping an accurate record of all accidents.