There comes a time in every business where something unfortunate happens in the workplace. It is a sad fact of life that all of your employees won’t make it through their careers without hurting themselves. No matter how many precautions and safety training courses you have in place, humans are humans and mistakes happen. Therefore, it’s vital that you and others in your organization know how to treat wounds when a first aid work injury happens, whether it’s today, tomorrow, or years from now.
What Exactly is a First Aid Work Injury?
It could be that someone in the warehouse doesn’t look where they’re going and runs over someone else’s foot with a forklift truck. Or, maybe someone uses a knife to open boxes and misses their target, cutting themselves instead of the box. It is part and parcel of the workplace for there to be risks. But it’s how you handle the situation that sets you apart from everyone else.
Common causes of a first aid work injury include:
- Bad lighting
- People not following safety procedures
- People not wearing their protective equipment
For further reading, check out the main causes of first aid work injuries here. Today, let’s look at how you can identify the type of cut or injury in the workplace, and then decide how to treat wounds. Proper treatment is essential so that the patient doesn’t get an internal infection.
First Aid at Work: Identify the Type of Wound
Let’s say you come across someone bleeding in the workplace. There are four main types it could be. By identifying which type it is, you will know how to treat wounds appropriately.
The four major kinds of wounds are:
This first aid work injury is like a scrape or a graze. Friction causes it, and it’s often characterized by lots of little marks on the arm or leg. There’s typically little bleeding. These wounds are the least severe of the four on this list. Treat wounds like this one with a wipe and a plaster in most cases.
When the skin separates in some way, it’s a cut. There is not missing skin like with abrasion, and there will be more bleeding than an abrasion. Finally, the cause of a cut is usually from a sharp object. It can vary in its severity.
A laceration is a jagged or torn wound. It is not a clean kind of cut; instead, this first aid work injury often happens when a blunt object rips into the skin. It is similar to a cut as it can vary in how severe the injury is, depending on the part of the body and the force of the blow.
An avulsion is where the skin has been torn away from the body. It is the most severe type of injury; so, treat wounds like this one with a lot of care to prevent an infection from entering the body.
How to Treat Wounds
Firstly, for treating a first-aid work injury, is to stop the bleeding. You can do so by using a bandage or a piece of gauze. It all 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 the heart level. Doing so will likely reduce the flow of blood, allowing the wound to slowly coagulate and seal. If the bleeding does not stop within 15 minutes, you need to use one of the pressure points with a tourniquet. How you do so depends on the body. It could be at the:
• 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. Firstly, wash the skin that surrounds the wound with water and soap, and remove any blood on the patient. When washing the wound itself, you need to use saline solution and squirt that into the wound to wash away any dirt and debris. A saline solution is a great way to prevent bacteria from getting into the wound.
Repair the First Aid Work Injury
Once the wound is clean, you need to finish off by bandaging it. The bandage is necessary when you treat wounds to seal them so they are able to then heal. Also, put some antibiotic cream inside the bandage to deter bacteria.
Then, cover the wound with your chosen dressing. Ensure there is enough room on either side for the dressing to stick to healthy skin.
Lastly, attach the dressing with athletic tape and be precise as you don’t want the bandage too tight or too loose. Of course, if the injury is more severe, definitely call emergency services.
First aid is one of the most important skills to know in adulthood. Other key life skills include money management and basic cooking knowledge.