How To Treat A Wound At Work

Workplace accident
An injury happens at work. Will you know how to treat it? Pixabay photo (CC0).
Workplace accident
An injury happens at work. Will you know how to treat it? Pixabay photo (CC0).

There will be a time in every business where something unfortunate will happen in the workplace. It is a sad fact of life that all of your employees won’t make it through their career without hurting themselves. No matter how many precautions and safety training you have put in place, humans are humans and mistakes will be made sometimes.

It could be that someone in the warehouse hasn’t been looking where they are going and ran over someone else’s foot with a forklift truck, or maybe someone was using a knife to open boxes and missed their target, cutting themselves instead. It is part and parcel of the workplace for there to be risk; it is how you decide to handle the situation that will set you apart from everyone else.

Most of the time, the cause of these injuries will be poor lighting, people not following the safety procedures, and not wearing their protective equipment. You can learn about the main causes of workplace injuries here:

Today, let’s look at how you can identify the type of cut or injury you are dealing with in the workplace, and then work out how you will treat the wound and make sure that the patient doesn’t get an internal infection.

Identifying the type of wound

When we come across someone who is bleeding in the workplace, there are four main types of wound that they may have. By identifying which type of wound it is, you will know how to treat it.

1. Abrasion: and abrasion is like a scrape or a graze. It is caused by friction and will often be characterised by lots of little marks on the arm or leg, and minimal bleeding. These wounds are the least severe and can be patched up with a wipe and a plaster in most cases.  

2. Cut: A cut describes when the skin has been separated in some way. There is not missing skin like with an abrasion, and there will be more bleeding with this. A cut is usually caused by a sharp object and can vary in severity.

3. Laceration: A laceration is a jagged or torn wound. It is not a clean cut and is often caused by a blunt object ripping into the skin. It is similar to a cut and can vary in how severe the injury is, depending on the part of the body and the force of the blow.  

4. Avulsion: An avulsion is where the skin has been torn away from the body. This is the most severe type of injury and must be treated with much care to prevent an infection getting into the body.  


The first step for treating an employee with a wound is to stop the bleeding. You can do this using a bandage or a piece of gauze. It depends on the severity of the injury and how much the patient is bleeding. The best way to stop bleeding is to cover the wound and lift the injury above heart level. This should reduce the blood flow and allow the wound to coagulate and seal. If the bleeding does not stop within 15 minutes, you will need to use one of the pressure points with a tourniquet such as of the body:

• Arm between shoulder and elbow
• Groin area, alongside the leg
• Behind the knee

Clean the wound

Once you have stopped the bleeding, it is time to clean the wound. Wash the skin that surrounds the wound with water and soap, and remove any blood on the patient. For the wound itself, you need to use saline solution and squirt that into the wound to wash away any dirt and debris. Saline solution is a great way to prevent bacteria getting into the wound.


Once the wound is clean, you need to finish off by bandaging the wound to make sure it is sealed and able to heal. Apply some antibiotic cream to the inside of the bandage to deter bacteria. Cover the wound with your chosen dressing and ensure there is enough room on either side for the dressing to stick onto healthy skin. Attach the dressing with athletic tape; you don’t want the bandage too tight or too loose. If the injury is more severe, definitely call the emergency services.


  1. Great tips, Christy. It can be incredibly useful to have directions on hand for when emergencies happen. Sometimes simply having a written guide can allow those involved to stop panicking and focus on what is needed. Merry Christmas!

  2. All good advice, Christy. I would add two things (I used to teach First Aid through the Red Cross). Direct pressure, along with elevation, is the first line of defense against bleeding. Elevation alone may be ineffective. Also, tourniquets should be used with caution, because once applied, they should not be removed – except by a medical professional. If bleeding continues beyond 10-15 minutes, but direct pressure stops it when applied, then the best thing to do is continue applying pressure while either getting the person to the ER or waiting for the paramedics to arrive. A tourniquet should be used only as a last resort. ❤

  3. I agree with other commenters who have said that there is great advice in this post, in that each wound deserves and requires a different approach, depending on the wound, size, location and reason for the wound. The information about pressure points is very helpful as well!

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