By Cheryl Higley
Every snow and ice management company’s safety plan should include first aid and CPR training.
Working odd hours in often desolate locations may mean a lack of access to timely medical care, making it even more important that every worker on site know how to respond until emergency services arrive if needed. In fact, the OSHA First Aid standard (29 CFR 1910.151) requires trained first-aid providers at all workplaces of any size if there is no “infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees.” OSHA recommends, but does not require, that every workplace include one or more employees who are certified in first aid, including CPR.
Research has shown that serious injuries such as those involving stopped breathing, cardiac arrest, or uncontrolled bleeding require first aid treatment within the first few minutes to avoid permanent medical impairment or death. In workplaces where serious accidents are possible, OSHA requires emergency medical services must be available within 3-4 minutes if there is no employee on-site who is trained to render first aid.
The American Heart Association says that when the heart stops, the lack of oxygenated blood can cause brain damage in only a few minutes. A person may die within eight to 10 minutes. CPR can keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until more definitive medical treatment can restore a normal heart rhythm.
While no one expects to be in the position to have to provide CPR (and many fear they may do more harm than good), the American Heart Association says: “It’s far better to do something than to do nothing at all.”
Several organizations are available to provide comprehensive first aid training and certification, including the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. Learn more and find training courses near you at redcross.org, osha.gov and heart.org.