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One of the riskiest professions is that of a construction worker. With every thinkable hazard lurking from every corner and aspect of work, construction sites are considered as a health and safety nightmare.

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Image from Pixabay

There are even some countries where construction workers are not even given social security benefits mainly because of the dangers involved in their everyday activities.

Responsible employees, however, are aware of their duties and obligations. Keeping up with different measures and compliance with the related laws, due care of workers and visitors alike are given top priority.

It is important to note that having all of these in place cannot guarantee a full protection against accidents. Should there be an emergency in a construction workplace, here is a first aid guide to help you during critical situations:

Assess the Situation

It is instinctive to immediately react to a situation, therefore, people tend to flock the victim which is highly unrecommended. This is what you should do:

  • Quickly neutralize hazards around the place of emergency.
  • Check for anything around the area that may cause further harm.
  • Evaluate the victim and check for consciousness and responsiveness.

Ask someone to make an emergency call as you look after the patient. In case you are alone with the victim, never leave his/her side. Reach out for your phone and make the necessary call.

Bear in mind the following in making an emergency call:

  1. Your phone number
  2. A concise but relevant description of what happened
  3. The status of the patient
  4. Your exact location.

As the help arrives, it is ideal to have someone meet the incoming emergency team.

Handling Burns

Burns are damage to one or multiple layers of the skin caused by exposure to heat or chemicals. It is important to make sure that the danger is under control before attempting to approach the victim.  

Burns range in severity from minor to major, the first aid for any degree is to wash the affected area with clean running water.

Remember that chemical burns are highly sensitive and can easily get contaminated. Remove any clothing exposed to the chemical. Make sure that you flush the area with running water that is cool and not cold. Exposing burns from chemicals with cold water may aggravate the injury.

After flushing with water, apply a non-adhesive, non-fluffy, wet dressing. This will help prevent infection without agitating the burnt area. Call for a medical assistance as soon as possible.

Taking Care of Bleeding

Cuts and bruises are common in any workplace, especially in a construction site. You must, however, take extra caution in handling bleeding patients no matter the severity of the wound.  As such, always wear a pair of gloves when treating them.  

Encourage the patient to relax and be seated properly, then check the wound for any foreign material. Do not remove any objects from the wound. This may cause further bleeding.

In some severe cases, bleeding can cause shock, call an ambulance immediately.

You can minimise bleeding by placing a dressing on the wound while applying firm, direct pressure. It will also help a lot to keep the affected area elevated and restrained.

Crush Injury First Aid

Crush injuries are those that occur because of pressure from a heavy object onto a body part. It is also caused by the squeezing of a body part between two objects.

Depending on severity, crush injuries can result in:

  • Broken bones
  • Severe bruising
  • Bleeding
  • Lacerations
  • Breakdown of muscles

Always neutralize any hazard before attending to the victim. Check for any response, if conscious, reassure the patient.

Assess the situation, remove the crushing weight ASAP as long as it is logically safe to proceed.

Evaluate the wound’s severity, for minor crush injuries, the medical attention needed are the same as treating cuts and bleeding.

Dealing with Fall Injuries

Victims who fell from height that is more than one meter can already be considered critical. The chances of incurring head or spinal injury are already high. The immediate course of action is to stabilise the victim and treat any possible concussion.

Make a thorough assessment of the victim. Signs of concussion that require immediate medical attention include:

  • Confusion
  • Vision impairment
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness

If the victim sustained any fracture, treat any incurred wound and immobilise the fractured part. Call an ambulance straight away.

Every emergency needs to be properly documented. The what, where, and how must be explained in as much detail as possible. The treatment provided must be properly noted, as well as the ambulance number and the hospital where the victim is taken too.

Having a first aid guide in your office wall can actually save lives.

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For more first aid visual guides, posters and a free comprehensive ebook, check out this Beginners Guide to Workplace First Aid.

This post was created by the team at ALSCO as a business development initiative. many thanks to Katrina McKinnon and team.

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