Overview: Unless there is a hospital, clinic or infirmary within near proximity (generally defined as within three or four minutes from the workplace when major accidents are reasonably likely to occur and around 15 minutes without reasonable chance of danger), employers must have someone trained in first aid on hand in case an employee needs quick medical attention. The employees trained in this function should be able to handle minor injuries on their own and help minimize damage while medical help is on the way for more serious injuries.
What a good first aid kit should have, and what employees should be trained to handle, depends in part on the nature of the work. An employer can get a good idea of what type of injuries frequently occur in the workplace by studying its OSHA-required injury and illness records.
While not required for a lot of industries, first aid training and practice should also include CPR training. Emergency medical situations, such as heart attacks, can happen at any time in any type of industry. Having employees trained for these situations supports safety in the workplace and can save lives.
Trends: An employer may choose to have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) installed in its workplace. Most states have laws regulating AEDs and granting employers immunity from liability for its use so long as certain requirements are met.
Author: Melissa Gonzalez Boyce, JD, Legal Editor
This briefing for supervisors examines the law and best practices regarding accidents in the workplace, including handling and investigating an accident and employer responsibilities.