Managing first aid is an essential part of managing the health and safety of staff, students and others (including visitors, contractors and staff who work outside normal school hours, such as cleaners). First aid facilities in schools includes trained first aid officers, first aid kits and if required, the provision of a first aid room. First aid in a school involves all school activities whether on site or during off site activities such as excursions, sporting events and camps.
Establishing the first aid requirements for the school
First aid requirements may be different for each school, depending on:
- The type of hazards at the school
- The size of the school
- The location of the school
- The number of staff and students (including individual health issues).
First Aid Officers
First aid officers provide initial care of ill/injured staff, students and others by delivering first aid care in accordance with approved training and where appropriate, referring the ill/injured person for additional medical advice.
Schools must ensure that there are adequate staff trained in first aid who can assist ill/injured students, staff and others. A first aid risk assessment should be conducted to determine the number of first aiders needed, including the size and location of the school, type of activities being undertaken, availability of emergency services and medical facilities and staff or students with specific medical conditions.
First aid officer requirements
- Hold current, appropriate first aid qualifications – the minimum acceptable level of training for first aid officers for workplaces is the senior first aid certificate (often referred to as a level 2 first aid qualification) or its competency based equivalent HLTFA301B Apply First Aid
- Provide emergency treatment (within their level of training and competence) and support to ill/injured students, staff and others
- Adhere to appropriate infection control practices during provision of first aid and in the disposal of first aid waste
- Report illness/injury
- Record first aid administered.
Names and contact details of current first aid officers should be clearly displayed.
Additional first aid risks to be considered:
||Possible Injuries Requiring First Aid
||Fractures, lacerations, sprains and strains
|Slip and trip hazard
||Fractures, lacerations, sprains and strains
||Crush injuries, loss of consciousness, spinal injury, fractures, sprains and strains
|Work at heights
||Head injury, loss of consciousness, spinal injury, fractures, sprains and strains
||Crush injuries, fractures, spinal injuries, sprains and strains
||Electric shock and burns
||Poisoning, loss of consciousness, burns and eye injuries
First Aid Kits
A first aid risk assessment should be completed to determine the appropriate location and number of first aid kits required. The number of first aid kits should be based on the:
- number of staff and students at the school
- hazards that could result in an injury or illness
- nature of activities being undertaken
- remoteness of the location
- location of excursions and the activities to be undertaken
- health issues of students, staff and others
- areas with an increased risk of injury (e.g. industrial design and technology, physical education, science laboratories, maintenance workshops, kitchens, etc.).
First aid kit requirements
- Contents of first aid kits should match the types of injuries and illnesses likely to occur
- Kits should be located in prominent and accessible positions
- Location of first aid supplies should be communicated to all employees
- Kits should not be locked
- Appropriate kits should be available for yard duty
- Kits should be provided in vehicles, where the vehicle is being used for the purpose of work
- The location of a first aid kit should be identified by a prominent sticker on the vehicle that either marks the location of the kit, or explains where it is
- Additional portable first aid kits should be available for excursions and other activities such as sport, camps and emergency evacuations. The contents may vary depending on the nature of the hazard in the area (e.g. rural, sporting, etc.)
- First aid kits should be clearly identified by a suitable sign or label
- Additional first aid kit modules (eye, burn modules, etc.) should be provided where particular hazards exist (e.g. science laboratories).
Medication, including analgesics such as paracetamol and aspirin, should not be included in first aid kits because of their potential to cause adverse health effects in some people including asthmatics, pregnant women and people with medical conditions.
First Aid Room
Where a first aid room is available, it should be easily accessible to ill or injured students, staff and others. The first aid room should be large enough for its purpose, clean, comfortable and provide for short-term supervision.
NOTE: Where a first aid room is provided, it should not be used for any other purpose.
Schools without a first aid room should provide a first aid area to allow for the provision of basic first aid.
The first aid room requirements
- Be clearly identified – a white cross on a green background
- Be designated specifically for first aid purposes
- Be located to provide easy access to ill/injured persons
- Be stocked with the required contents
- Be well illuminated and ventilated
- Have easy access for an ambulance
- Have easy access to toilets
- Have emergency telephone numbers prominently displayed
- Have a list of first aid officer(s) names and contact numbers clearly displayed
- Have the location made aware to all staff, students and others.
First aid room signage
Displaying well recognised, standardised first aid signs will assist in easily locating first aid equipment and facilities. The signs should be a white cross on a green background.
First Aid Officers should keep records of all injuries/illnesses and any first aid treatments provided. Records may be in either written or electronic form. The written report should include the:
- date, time and place of illness/injury
- names and addresses of people injured and any witnesses
- nature of the injury
- subsequent action and treatment involved
- details of the first aid officer making the report
All medication administered should be recorded by the first aid officer on the school's student database or medication administration record. Parental/Guardian permission is required to administer all medication, including analgesics (pain medication) to students.
General level 1 and 2 first aid training courses do not teach first aid officers to manage illness and injury using medication.
Additional First Aid Requirements
Eye wash and shower facilities
Eye wash and shower facilities should be provided in any area (e.g. science laboratories, food technology areas, maintenance workshops) where there is a risk of serious burns to the eyes or a large area of the body or face.
Automated External Defibrillators (AED)
Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) are not routinely required in first aid kits or first aid room supplies. Schools may determine that an AED be included as part of the first aid provision particularly where the risk assessment indicates circumstances where life-threatening illness/injuries could result and timely access to emergency services cannot be assured.
An AED will require staff training and ongoing maintenance.
Infectious diseases can have a significant impact on schools through absenteeism and the interruption of learning in the school environment. Staff should be provided with information and training to ensure adequate infection control is practiced at all times to prevent or minimise the risk of transmission of infectious diseases.
All staff should take precautions to avoid infection and must follow basic hygiene procedures. Staff should have access to single-use disposable gloves and hand washing facilities, and should take care when dealing with blood or other bodily fluids and disposing of dressings or equipment.