What is First Aid?

Today we will take a look at the different first aid levels, a breakdown of each levels and what they provide for the learner. First aid typically refers to the treatment or immediate care that should be conducted when a person is injured, poisoned or sick. First aid aims to ease and reduce the pain or to ensure that the condition does not escalate before full treatment can take place. Often providing first aid treatment can save lives. It is required that the person performing the first aid must provide continued assistance to the person until the Emergency Medical Technicians arrives at the scene. As it does takes time for the emergency services to arrive at a scene once the incident or accident has taken place. Follow the 3 Ps when providing first aid – preserve life, prevent deterioration, and promote recovery. 

First aid training offers essential skills that are often forgotten during an emergency as adrenaline can take over and one cannot always think clearly during a stressful situation. First aid training teaches the trainee to remain calm, to provide immediate support and increases safety knowledge. Being equipped with the proper knowledge and training ensures that the person will know how to react when an emergency occurs. 

First aid training has three levels that one can obtain, from just the basics of level 1 to covering more advanced topics in level 3. 

Level 1

Level 1 training focuses on basic first aid skills, these are basic skills but still considered important. It covers the ability to manage common medical and traumatic emergencies at the workplace or home until the emergency services arrive to take over.

Level 1 addresses and teaches learners to assess an emergency situation and to provide basic life support and first aid to stabilize the person in need prior to handing over to emergency services. Level 1 first aiders need to think logically in a stressful situation and proceed to the next phase to provide assistance for the patient. 

Common Topics Covered in Level 1 Training: 

  • Safety at the scene of the emergency.
  • The first responder and the law.
  • Basic human anatomy and physiology.
  • Assess an emergency.
  • The primary survey.
  • Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Choking and other emergencies requiring CPR.
  • Unconsciousness and fainting.
  • The secondary survey.
  • Bleeding and shock.
  • Common injuries.
  • Soft tissue injuries.
  • Burns.
  • Fractures.
  • Head and spinal injuries.
  • First aid and follow-up treatment.

Level 2

Level 2 first aid training mainly focuses on providing first aid care within the workplace, specifically situations arising from an occupational risk in the specific workplace. Level 2 is a pre-mandatory requirement before doing level 3.

Level 2 covers a wider range of situations and topics than level 1, providing a more detailed overview of scenarios, situations or injuries that could occur in the workplace. The training also covers the required steps to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and using an automated external defibrillator (AED). 

Common Topics Covered in Level 2 Training: 

  • The principles of emergency care in the workplace.
  • Preparedness for health emergencies in the workplace.
  • Assessing and managing an emergency scene in the workplace.
  • The primary survey.
  • Emergency life support for adults, children and infants, including single- and two-persons CPR, artificial respiration, using an AED and managing a choking patient.
  • Bleeding and shock; anaphylactic shock.
  • The secondary survey.
  • Management of wounds; soft tissue injuries.
  • Common injuries.
  • Head and spinal injuries.
  • Fractures.
  • Joint injuries and rescue carry.
  • Chest, hand and eye injuries.
  • Pelvic and abdominal injuries.
  • Burns.
  • Environmental illness and injuries.
  • Poisoning, bites and stings.
  • Medical emergencies common in the workplace include diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, stroke, and heart attack.
  • First aid and follow-up treatment.
  • Recording an incident/accident. 

Level 3

Level 3 is the most advanced first aid training that a person could obtain. Level 3 is normally a comprehensive course that covers aspects such as the principles of advanced primary care in health emergencies for people in the workplace. Sustaining an advanced level of preparedness and offering solutions on how to deal with emergencies occurring in the work area. It also focuses on assessing and managing multiple injuries when a disaster takes place.

The physiology of the human body is also covered in level 3 to ensure that the first aider will be able to demonstrate the needed knowledge and understanding of the anatomy of the human body. Disorders and diseases relating to each human system provide an in-depth overview. Once the training is completed the first aider will be able to provide life support for adults, children and infants. 

Common Topic Covered in Level 3 Training: 

  • Principles of first aid and safety.
  • Universal precautions.
  • Ethics related to emergency care.
  • The first responder and the law.
  • Preparedness to deal with sudden illness or emergency at an advanced level.
  • Emergency scene/disaster assessment and management.
  • Multiple injury management.
  • Applied anatomy and physiology.
  • Disorders and/or diseases affecting specific body systems.
  • The primary survey.
  • Artificial respiration.
  • Managing a choking victim.
  • One- and two-rescuer CPR (adults, children and infants).
  • Recovery positions with and without a spinal board and spider harness.
  • Transporting the patient according to the injury, disorder or condition of the patient/s and available means of transport, rescue carries.
  • Oxygen therapy.
  • Pulse sites and pulse monitoring.
  • Emergency treatment of shock (hypovolemic, cardiogenic and anaphylactic).
  • The secondary survey.
  • Wounds and bleeding; soft tissue injuries.
  • General principles of fractures and the threatened limb.
  • Head and spinal injuries.
  • Joint injuries, strains and sprains.
  • Hand and eye injuries, Chest injuries, sucking chest wound, flail chest.
  • Pelvic, abdominal and crush injuries.
  • Burns.
  • Poisoning, bites and stings.
  • Common medical emergencies: chest pain and paralysis; breathlessness, croup, asthma, epileptic seizures, stroke, diabetes and skin reactions.
  • Environmental illness and injuries – hyperthermia, hypothermia and drowning.
  • Common infectious diseases, severe headaches, excessive diarrhoea, vomiting, and any type of haemorrhage.
  • Emergency childbirth.

As stipulated, it is required by all organisations by the OHS Act and the Department of Labour to have a competent first aider available (as per the rations described in the General Safety Regulations) within the workplace to provide support when required. This requirement ensures that there are precautions in place should an unexpected accident occur, and that all are prepared for the situation.

Our Services

Cairnmead Industrial Consultants have over 34 years of experience within the construction industry as well as building operations for existing buildings. Our consultants can advise and specifically take a look at these aspects so that these requirements are not only addressed during the final stage of a project. 

Contact us to find out more:

Christof Lourens

CEO Cairnmead Industrial Consultants (Pty) Ltd

Tel: 012 346 5752 | Email: christof@cairnmead.co.za

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