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First aid in the workplace

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First aid in the workplace

First aid is immediate assistance that is provided to the victim in the event of an accident or illness, waiting for more qualified personnel. First aid, as stated in the INAIL 2018 guide, is no longer just a repair system but an integration into the workplace accident prevention and reduction system. The legislation obliges the Employers to designate and train the employees and to organize the emergency plan because the correct management of the first phases of a health emergency can make the difference for the survival of the injured person.

The management of First Aid in the workplace is regulated by the legislation contained in the Ministerial Decree of 15 July 2003 n.388, by the Legislative Decree 81/2008 (in the regulatory appendices extracted from the Implementing Decrees n.90 of 15/03/2010) and by ministerial interpellations, among which the number 02/2012 is mentioned above all, which updated the provisions regarding the training of emergency team personnel. The organization of first aid in decree law 81/08 is part of the general protection measures and is part of the broader chapter of emergency management, together with other measures such as fire prevention and fire fighting, evacuation of workplaces in case of danger serious and immediate, rescue.

The definition found in the same decree 81/08 speaks of first aid as “a set of acts that non-medical personnel can carry out while waiting for more qualified personnel” and this definition serves to distinguish from first aid (which is carried out by qualified personnel) both for the training of employees and for responsibility in terms of appointment and work. The objectives of first aid are two. The first is to try to ensure the survival of the injured person; the second is to avoid the onset of further damage caused by a lack of rescue or by a rescue conducted in a manner harmful to the injured person. The effectiveness of an emergency room is related to the training of workers, the availability and health efficiency, the organization of the first aid plan and rapid and effective communication systems integrated with those of first aid. In order to properly organize first aid, the Employer, once he has listened to the Competent Doctor where he is appointed, takes the necessary measures in the field of first aid and emergency medical assistance. DM 15 July 2003, n. 388 which contains the provisions on company first aid. In particular:

  1. art. 1 classification of companies: companies are classified into three groups “A, B, C” based on the type of activity carried out, the number of workers employed and the occupational risk factors. If the company belongs to group A, the Employer is obliged to notify the competent Local Health Authority in the area in which the work takes place for the preparation of the necessary emergency interventions. If the company or production unit carries out work activities included in different groups, the Employer must refer to the activity with the highest index;
  2. art. 2 organization of first aid;
  3. art. 3 requirements and training of first aid workers: with regard to first aid training, the contents and educational objectives of the courses are substantially identical, the duration changes: 16 hours for group A companies, 12 hours for group B and C.
  4. art. 4 minimum equipment for first aid interventions: here the characteristics of the company, the number of workers, the nature of the activity and the risk factors present there must be assessed because the companies of categories A and B must have one or more boxes first aid, while for those of category C the presence of the medication package is sufficient. (The minimum contents of the first aid are indicated in the attachments of the aforementioned Ministerial Decree).
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The training of first aid workers is carried out by medical staff and consists of a theoretical and a practical part where the first aid measures are implemented in which the training allows the acquisition of “practical intervention skills” in case of emergencies that can occur.

The training, especially for the practical part, must be repeated every three years. Furthermore, as for preventive actions, also for first aid and for the preparation of the related plan, at the base there is the risk assessment document (DVR) which provides the tools to identify, assess and manage the possible risks and damages that they can follow. The organization of a first aid plan must take into account three aspects: the first concerns the type of production of the specific risks present in the company to define the adoption of other health devices, in addition to those required by law, or the transfer specific skills for first aid workers, and must be feasible and placed in the working reality under consideration; the second aspect is the place where the activity takes place, in particular its reachability by emergency vehicles; the third is the number of employees to be designated and their training.

Furthermore, the first aid plan must be communicated and there is an obligation that each worker receives adequate information on the names of the designated workers and how to proceed in the event of first aid; this information can be communicated through informative meetings with the workers, providing the rescue plan via e-mail or paper format, using posters showing the lists of first aid workers and their telephone numbers with location and, finally, also by means of placards indicating the locations of the health facilities.

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It is necessary to remember that the protection and safety of workers requires adequate first aid, which is an important tool for the workplace, becoming one of the first links in the health emergency that can contribute to the survival of workers.



Consolidated Law on Security


Legislative Decree 9 April 2008, n. 81

D’Apote Michele Oleotti Alberto, Manual for the application of Legislative Decree 81/2008, EPC Editore, 5th edition September 2021

The know-how of the competent doctor. Technical tools, practical files and work paths for a modern profession, Giovanni Mancini, Robertino Rulli, Elisa Medaglia

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