Life is often unpredictable and hectic, even if we don't want to believe it to be true. Incidents in and out of the workplace happen every day.
According to Safework Australia statistics, from 2003 to 2016, over 3,400 people lost their lives in work-related accidents. In 2016, there were 182 deaths in the workplace. The most common incidents were vehicle collision in the first spot, followed by falls from a height at a distant second, and being hit by moving objects in third place.
Aside from the fact that we need to strive to make our environment safer through our own choices and awareness, we also need to prepare for the worst-case scenario. That involves knowing what to do in key incident or accident situations, because a quick reaction can be the difference between life and death.
When a cause for emergency occurs, the first crucial step is life safety. After that, the incident needs to be stabilized. These two steps can require numerous different actions, depending on the situation, but knowing the basic five is of utmost importance.
The order of steps 2-5 is going to depend on the situation, type of emergency, how many people there are, and more.
This might sound like a cliché, but it’s the first step to providing help. You’re no use to anyone if you’re panicking and running around frantically.
Should an emergency happen, do your best to remain calm - take a few deep breaths, gather your thoughts and see how you can help the situation.
Australia’s primary emergency number is 000 and can be dialed from any mobile or fixed phone. It’s a good idea to have it on speed dial in case you need to use it. Most phones will link directly to it on the login screen so it can be accessed immediately.
If you’re the one who needs to make the emergency call, keep the following in mind:
• Speak slowly and calmly. The operator needs to understand everything clearly. This is where remaining calm is very important
• Give as much relevant information as you can - what happened, how it happened, how many people need assistance, what the status of the victim is, etc.
• Provide the address of the accident or incident and describe any possible obstructions the emergency team may have to deal with.
• Listen to the operator’s instructions carefully and have someone write things down, if necessary.
• Answer any questions they may have for you. Remember, they are trained to handle emergencies and may have questions you never even thought would be relevant.
• Never hang up first. You may even have to stay on the phone for a few minutes, depending on the situation.
Of course, if the victim can’t breathe, this is always the priority.
If the victim can breathe partially, encourage them to keep coughing.
If the airway is completely obstructed, stand behind the victim, place one hand on their chest and bend them well forward to allow for the object to fall out, rather than go deeper into the airway.
From there, give up to five or six abdominal thrusts. As the victim is bent forward, wrap your arms around the upper stomach with one fist clenched, and pull sharply inward.
4. Stopping Blood Flow
If the victim suffers from a cut or other type of injury that causes bleeding, you need to stop it. Otherwise, the victim could lose a lot of blood, go into shock, pass out and even lose their life.
Having called for emergency help, first, expose the wound, put something clean on it and apply pressure to block the bleeding. If there are small debris (such as glass), remove them gently first. Help the victim remain calm; this will keep their heart rate steady. Lie them down on the ground.
If the wound is on a limb, raise it up above the heart to slow down bleeding and don’t stop putting pressure on it. If the wound bleeds a lot and soaks through the cloth or bandage, add another one on top and keep applying pressure.
If the wound seemingly stops bleeding, don’t remove the cloth as this can restart the blood flow. Keep the pressure on until emergency arrives.
If there’s an object that is embedded in the body (such as a knife), don’t attempt to remove it.
5.Clearing Space for Emergency Help
Once the emergency help arrives, they need to have a clear path to the victim (or victims). First, make sure that there’s enough space for the ambulance to reach the accident point or building.
Second, clear hallways and corridors if the accident has occurred inside a building. Remove any other obstruction that might slow down the emergency team.
You should also wait for them (or have someone else do it) in front of the building and lead them to the place of the accident. If possible, move the victim outside to wait for the ambulance. If they are bleeding or barely breathing, it’s advised to move them as little as possible.
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