Someone gets injured at work every 7 seconds in the United States.
This stunning statistic reveals just how prevalent medical emergencies are in the workplace. Every day, people around the country are getting injured or falling sick on the job.
Hopefully, that fact’s enough to shock hitherto ignorant businesses into action.
As they say, failing to prepare is like preparing to fail. Your business simply must be ready to respond to a medical emergency! That prior preparation might just save someone’s life.
Unfortunately, the willingness to prepare isn’t enough. It must be followed by action. Unsure how your business can better prepare itself for a worst-case medical situation?
Let us help. Read on to discover 8 ways to prepare your business for medical emergencies.
1. Identify Risks
It’s hard to predict medical emergencies.
By their very nature, they come at unexpected times and from all manner of sources.
Preparing for every single eventuality isn’t necessarily possible. Nonetheless, it’s essential to identify any particular risks in the working environment.
Take the time to analyze the potential hazards that exist. Every working environment is different, meaning the risks to employees will be specific to the business.
Think about trip hazards, electrical equipment, heavy objects, machinery, stairwells, and old appliances, and so on.
2. Identify Treatment Facilities
You should also take the time to identify the nearest treatment facility to your business.
In an ideal world, you’d be as close as practically possible to the hospital. Obviously, in an emergency, the ambulance and paramedics could arrive sooner than later.
The number of risks inherent to your business makes proximity to treatment facilities more, or less, important. High chance of injury and illness? It’s better to be closer to the hospital.
Regardless, make sure you know where the hospital is located. Next, go one step further and know how long it takes to get there. You can work this important data into the plan you’re just about to make…
3. Create a Risk Management Plan (RMP)
With the risks and hazards identified, it’s time to create a plan of action.
How can you mitigate the problems, and how should people respond in an emergency?
Your job is to create a protocol that people can follow when disaster strikes. What should someone do if they’re first to the scene of an incident?
Who should the alert? Where should they go? What should they do?
Be as specific as you can. You want your employees to know what’s expected of them in a worst-case medical scenario.
4. Distribute the Plan
Well done, you’ve now created your plan of action.
When you’re sure it’s fit for purpose, the next vital step is to tell people about it.
Your RMP is useless if only you know what you’re doing. That plan must be distributed throughout the business. Every single employee should have access.
Make it compulsory to have read and reviewed the document. Put it in the employee handbook/manual, save a copy upon the company intranet, hold a meeting to review the plan, and email it to everyone on the team.
You could even ask employees to sign a document saying they’ve read and reviewed it. That way, you know everyone is up to speed.
5. Practice and Training of Protocols
Plans prove ineffective in the absence of training.
Emergencies are hardly a time of calm and clear-headedness. It’s easy to panic in the stress of the situation. The best-laid plans go out of the window in such moments.
Employees should have been trained for this eventuality. They should know what to do in practice, as well as theory.
Be sure to run drills at various points throughout the year. When a protocol is committed to memory through tangible practice, it’s far easier to recall when emergency strikes.
6. Stock Sufficient First-Aid Supplies
Plans and training only go so far.
You need the means with which to deal with an emergency too.
It’s your job, as the business owner, to ensure the working environment is fully stocked with first-aid equipment.
Refer to your RMP. Look at the potential hazards you’ve identified. Reflect on the supplies someone might need to handle the problem. Everything from bandaids and bandages, to wound dressings and antiseptic wipes/cream will be necessary.
Don’t rest on your laurels, either. Just because you filled your kits up 6 months ago doesn’t mean you’re prepared. As part of your RMP, be sure to perform regular checks of your first-aid inventory.
7. Have a Trained First-Aider at Work
This particular ‘tip’ is an obligation for all employers.
Simply, your business must also have someone trained to deliver first-aid.
Not only that, a trained first-aider must be at work at all times, in case of an emergency.
First-aiders play a crucial role in your RMP. They’re charged with a heavy responsibility: to effectively handle a medical situation until emergency services arrive.
Be sure to put a willing volunteer through sufficient first-aid training.
8. Stock Emergency First-Aid Equipment
The equipment you need for an emergency is just as important.
Imagine having a fire in the workplace and no extinguisher to put it out?
All those bandages and antiseptic wipes will be no good if someone suffers a heart attack.
Having someone trained in CPR is important. But there’s no guarantee they’ll be on the scene immediately. Even if they are, having an AED at the workplace can be the difference between life and death.
It’s vital to stock the first-aid equipment you might need. Remember, it’s better to be over-prepared than underprepared.
Final Thoughts on Medical Emergency Preparation
There you have it: 8 suggestions for how your business can be better prepared for a medical emergency.
Sickness, injury and other medical emergencies are all too common in the US. Indeed, another person is injured in the workplace every few seconds.
That’s a scary thought and one that should shock unprepared businesses into action.
Having a well-planned protocol for handling worst-case medical situations is key. Practicing due diligence and planning ahead of time can literally save someone’s life.
Hopefully, this post has provided some useful insight into how to do it.
Want more articles like this one? Be sure to check out our other posts in the business advice section of the blog.