First Aid and Emergency Management

WHS Banner

Introduction

Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act), the Commonwealth, as the Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), and represented by Senators and Members and the Department of Finance (Finance), must ensure the health and safety of people working in its business or undertaking so far as is reasonably practicable.

Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 (MOP(S) Act) employees have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety, and that of other persons.

The object of the WHS Act, as stated in Section 3 is to establish:

The principle that workers and other persons should be given the highest level of protection against harm to their health, safety and welfare from hazards and risks arising from work as is reasonably practicable

Responsibility for administering the work health and safety for MOP(S) Act rests with the Ministerial and Parliamentary Services (M&PS) division of Finance.

First Aid & Emergency Management are work health and safety issues

  • The adequacy of emergency management procedures and first aid facilities, equipment and training can have serious implications for the health and safety of :
    • Senators and Members;
    • MOP(S) Act employees;
    • other persons in a Senator’s or Member’s office; and
    • members of the public.
  • Workers who are trained as First Aid Officers (FAOs) and/or Emergency Officers (EOs) perform valuable roles in reducing the risk of injury and illness within the workplace.
  • Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations require the Commonwealth to ensure the provision of, and access to, first aid equipment and facilities, and emergency management procedures and equipment.
  • The Commonwealth must ensure that an adequate number of workers are trained to administer first aid in the workplace, or that access to other trained FAOs is available to workers.
  • The Commonwealth must also ensure an adequate number of workers are trained to manage emergency procedures, or that access to other trained EOs or equivalent (i.e. Fire Warden) is available to workers.

Aim

Under the WHS Act, Senators and Members, MOP(S) Act employees and Finance share the responsibility for implementing and managing emergency management procedures and first aid services, including equipment, facilities and training.  This policy has been developed to:

  • clarify who has responsibilities for first aid and emergency management (Section A);
  • provide Senators, Members and MOP(S) Act employees with up-to-date information to assist them to fulfil their emergency management (Section B1) and first aid (Section B2) obligations; and
  • provide advice to Senators and Members and MOP(S) Act employees on how to manage first aid and emergency risks in the workplace (Section C and Section D).

This policy has been developed having regard to Safe Work Australia’s First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice (Code of Practice).  In most cases, compliance with the Code of Practice would achieve compliance with the health and safety duties in the WHS Act in relation to first aid. This policy is designed to assist in ensuring compliance with the Code of Practice.

Definitions

First aid: the immediate treatment or care given to a person suffering from an injury or illness, until more advanced care is provided or the person recovers.

First Aid Officer (FAO): a MOP(S) Act employee nominated by their Senator or Member to be the FAO for their office, who holds a current Provide First Aid Statement of Attainment (previously known as Apply First Aid), or equivalent, issued through a Registered Training Organisation (RTO).

Emergency Officer (EO): a MOP(S) Act employee nominated by their Senator or Member to be the EO for their office, who has been trained by the contracted service provider in emergency management for their workplace.

First aid equipment: includes first aid kits and other equipment used to treat injuries and illnesses.

First aid facilities: includes first aid rooms, health centres, clean water supplies and other facilities needed for administering first aid.

Health and safety in the MOP(S) Act employment environment

Some factors that may contribute to the first aid and emergency environment that MOP(S) Act employees work in include multiple work locations, extensive and consistent travel, extended Parliamentary sitting hours, or transient colleagues. These factors may appear to be beyond the control of an individual Senator or Member or MOP(S) Act employee.

However, under the WHS Act (Section 47), Senators and Members, MOP(S) Act employees and Finance all have duties to consult, cooperate and coordinate activities with all other persons who have a duty in relation to the same WHS matter.  By working together to encourage a culture of health and safety awareness, Senators and Members, MOP(S) Act employees and Finance can assist to eliminate or minimise injury risks in Senators and Members’ offices.

Senators and Members and MOP(S) Act employees are expected to comply with this policy within the current limits of the Commonwealth resources available to them

Consultation

Finance:

  • will consult on the content of this draft policy with MOP(S) Act employees through the MOP(S) Act Employee Work Health and Safety Committee (the Work Health and Safety Committee); and
  • may consult with Senators and Members from time to time.

Section A – Sharing responsibility for First Aid and Emergency Management

Finance

Finance will:

  • consult with MOP(S) Act employees on matters relating to work health and safety, including emergency management and first aid facilities, equipment and training;
  • provide broad work health and safety policy advice and assistance to Senators and Members and MOP(S) Act employees, in relation to emergency management procedures and first aid facilities, equipment and training, through information on the Ministerial and Parliamentary Services website and training;
  • assess whether MOP(S) Act employees have access to an adequate number of other people who have been trained to administer first aid;
  • facilitate the training of FAOs to the level of an Provide First Aid Statement of Attainment or equivalent, through the contracted service provider or an RTO;
  • facilitate the training of Emergency Officers (EOs) and Deputy Emergency Officers (DEOs) through the contracted service provider, in those offices where the contracted service provider has made an assessment that EOs are required;
  • provide a first aid kit to:
    • FAOs at their workplace; and
    • Senators and Members and Senior Staff for use in private plated vehicles (PPVs), upon request;
  • provide specific advice and assistance in relation to emergency management and first aid facilities, equipment and training in the workplace, to:
    • Senators and Members through the Advice and Support Directors; and
    • MOP(S) Act employees through the Staff Help Desk; and
  • maintain this policy, in consultation with the Work Health and Safety Committee; and where appropriate, with Senators and Members.

Senators and Members

Under WHS legislation, Senators and Members and some Office Managers, whose capacity to make decisions makes them Officers under the WHS Act, must:

  • ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers who carry out work for a Senator or Member, including MOP(S) Act employees;
  • acquire, and keep up to date, knowledge of work health and safety matters, including emergency management practices and first aid facilities, equipment and training, that affect their workplace.  The information in Section B is provided to assist with this duty;
  • ensure each worker at their workplace has access to the first aid treatment, equipment and facilities either via a trained FAO within their office, or access to an adequate number of other people who have been trained to administer first aid;
  • ensure that an emergency management plan is in place for their workplace.  This is generally arranged through M&PS, in consultation with the building owner or the contracted provider of emergency management services;
  • understand the hazards and risks associated with inadequate emergency management practices and first aid facilities, equipment and training in their workplace; and
  • ensure that there are processes in place in their workplace to eliminate or minimise risks to health and safety connected with inadequate emergency management practices and first aid facilities, equipment and training.

To demonstrate that they have met these obligations, Senators and Members should:

  • adopt this policy as part of the WHS risk management framework within their office;
  • nominate a FAO by completing the WHS Roles Nomination Form for the following office(s):
    • each electorate office; and
    • each Ministerial or capital city office that is not located in either Parliament House or a Commonwealth Parliament Office (noting that where a Ministerial or capital city office is co-located with an electorate office, only one FAO is required).
      WHS Roles Nomination Form
  • nominate an EO and Deputy Emergency Officer (DEO) to be trained for each office outside Parliament House by completing a WHS Roles Nomination Form, noting that the contracted emergency management service provider may advise M&PS that EOs are not required for a particular office;
    WHS Roles Nomination Form
  • ensure FAOs undertake and are up-to-date with all relevant training, and fulfil their FAO duties (detailed in the FAO Responsibilities);
  • ensure EOs and DEOs undertake and are up-to-date with all relevant training, and fulfil their EO duties (detailed in the EO and DEO Responsibilities);
  • put in place systems within their office to monitor the wellbeing of their employees; particularly during periods of increased working hours;
  • report any first aid and/or emergency management hazards or incidents in their workplace to Konekt Response on 1300 880 777.  If Konekt Response is unavailable, for example because the incident occurred outside standard working hours, notifiable incidents must be reported to Comcare on 1300 366 979 immediately.  The Notifiable Incident Flowchart will assist in determining which incidents should be reported to Comcare immediately; and
  • consult with MOP(S) Act employees prior to making decisions that may impact on their health and safety, including in relation to travel, working hours and changing workplaces;
    • Senators and Members have a duty under the WHS Act to consult on health and safety matters, which is separate and additional to their duty to consult with MOP(S) Act employees on major changes under the Commonwealth Members of Parliament Staff Enterprise Agreement 2012-2015.  

MOP(S) Act employees

Every MOP(S) Act employee has a duty under the WHS Act as a worker to take reasonable care of their own health and safety, and must not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons. 

MOP(S) Act employees must:

  • comply with any reasonable instruction and cooperate with any reasonable policy or procedure issued by their Senator or Member, or Finance, relating to first aid and emergency management;
  • monitor their own risk of injury in the workplace and take steps to manage and minimise this risk; and
  • report any first aid and/or emergency management hazards or incidents in their workplace to Konekt Response on 1300 880 777.  If Konekt Response is unavailable, for example because the incident occurred outside standard working hours, notifiable incidents must be reported to Comcare on 1300 366 979 immediately.  The Notifiable Incident Flowchart will assist in determining what incidents should be reported to Comcare immediately.

MOP(S) Act employees should consider:

  • providing their FAO with information about any first aid needs that may require specific treatment in the event of a medical emergency, such as severe allergies.

Information provided to FAOs about a MOP(S) Act employee’s health must be kept confidential and only shared further with the employee’s consent or for the purpose of providing first aid or arranging emergency medical treatment.

Section B1 – Emergency Management

Emergency Management Services

Emergency management services provided by the contracted provider include:

  • an initial site inspection of all offices to audit fire safety and emergency response equipment and establish the emergency management services required in each office;
  • review of emergency response procedures and plans;
  • where required, preparation of an emergency plan, including: signage, manuals and information for MOP(S) Act employees; and
  • where required, training of an EO and DEO.

The contracted emergency management services provider will contact each Senator or Member’s office directly to arrange these services.

Emergency Officers

EOs are responsible for annually facilitating, in conjunction with the emergency management service provider, a full-scale evacuation drill at their office, facilitating emergency evacuations as necessary, inducting new workers with emergency procedures and assisting the WHS Site Officer (where the WHS Site Officer is not also the EO), to monitor and report WHS risks and incidents.  A Senator or Member nominates a MOP(S) Act employee to be an EO or DEO by completing the WHS Roles Nomination Form.

Emergency Officer Responsibilities

The responsibilities of the appointed EO will vary depending on the nature of the office in which they work, and are set out in the Emergency Officer Responsibilities.

Emergency Officer & Deputy Emergency Officer Training

In order to fulfil the requirements of the role, all EOs and DEOs will receive the following:

  • onsite first attack fire skills training;
  • equipment and bomb threat theory training; and
  • site specific emergency procedures.

DEOs will be trained to facilitate a smooth transition should the EO cease their role.

The contracted provider of emergency management services will facilitate training for EOs.  Finance will provide the details of nominated MOP(S) Act employees to the provider, who will contact employees directly to arrange training.

Section B2 – First Aid Arrangements

First aid arrangements at Parliament House

The Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) administers first aid arrangements within Parliament House.  These include:

  • the Nurses Centre, which operates during business hours;
  • an emergency number (7117) which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and which can be dialled from any phone in Parliament House for access to assistance, including first aid;
  • all security officers are trained to apply first aid, including CPR and the use of defibrillators.  Security officers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide first aid services;
  • the provision and maintenance of first aid kits and defibrillators, which are located throughout Parliament House; and
  • regular inspections of equipment and risk assessments of first aid arrangements, in accordance with the First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice.

First aid arrangements in Commonwealth Parliament Offices

First aid in Commonwealth Parliament Offices (CPOs) is provided by Finance staff who are based in the Ministerial and Parliamentary Services State Office and who have been trained as First Aid Officers (FAOs). Where a Senator or Member wishes to nominate a MOP(S) Act employee based in a CPO as a FAO due to the particular circumstances of their office, Finance will accept the nomination.

First aid arrangements outside Parliament House and Commonwealth Parliament Offices

First Aid Officers

First Aid Officers (FAOs) are responsible for monitoring and maintaining first aid equipment and facilities in their office, administering first aid and assisting the WHS Site Officer (where the WHS Site Officer is not also the FAO), in monitoring and reporting WHS risks and incidents.  Senators and Members should nominate an FAO for each of their eligible offices.  A Senator or Member nominates a MOP(S) Act employee to be a FAO by completing the WHS Roles Nomination Form.

First Aid Officer Responsibilities

The responsibilities of the appointed FAO will vary depending on the nature of the office in which they work, and are set out in the First Aid Officer Responsibilities.

First Aid Officer Training

In order to fulfil the requirements of the role, all FAOs will receive the following:

  • first aid theory training
  • practical training to the level of Provide First Aid (if they do not possess a current Statement of Attainment)
  • CPR refresher training every 12 months

Furthermore, FAOs, as MOP(S) Act employees will have access to:

  • advice from Konekt on first aid matters upon request; and
  • counselling services on request from Davidson Trahaire Corpsych (DTC) on 1300 360 364.

In most circumstances, the contracted provider of emergency management services will facilitate training for FAOs.  Finance will provide the details of nominated MOP(S) Act employees to the provider, who will contact employees directly to arrange training.  For those MOP(S) Act employees who already hold a current Provide First Aid statement of attainment, further training is not required until the expiry of their current certificate(s).  MOP(S) Act employees should send a copy of their Provide First Aid Statement of Attainment (or equivalent) to the Staff Help Desk.

For contractual reasons, some FAOs, including those located in some regional areas, will not have their training facilitated by the contracted emergency management service provider.  The Staff Help Desk will contact these FAOs, requesting that the nominated FAO selects their own first aid training course, informs the Staff Help Desk of their first aid training provider choice, and arranges payment of training fees.  A FAO should not arrange their own training without first discussing the matter with the Staff Help Desk.

First Aid Kits

First aid kits should contain all the equipment and materials necessary for treating minor injuries and illnesses at work.  More than one first aid kit may be needed if:

  • work is being carried out a long distance from emergency services i.e. in a PPV which transports MOP(S) Act employees through sparsely-populated country; or
  • the workplace has more than one floor level i.e. a multi-level ministerial or electorate office.
Contents of the First Aid Kit

The standard first aid kit provides basic equipment for administering first aid for injuries including:

  • cuts, scratches, punctures, grazes and splinters;
  • muscular sprains and strains;
  • minor burns;
  • amputations and/or major bleeding wounds;
  • broken bones;
  • eye injuries; and
  • shock.

The First Aid Kit Contents List should be used to stock and restock kits.  This list is based on the sample contents list in the Code of Practice.  Each first aid kit should also contain a list of the contents of that kit.  First aid kit supplies can be ordered directly through OfficeMax.

Medication, including analgesics such as paracetamol and aspirin, should not be included in first aid kits because of their potential to cause adverse health effects in some people, including asthmatics, pregnant women and people with medical conditions. The supply of these medications may also be controlled by drugs and poisons laws.  MOP(S) Act employees requiring prescribed and over-the-counter medications should carry their own medication for their personal use as necessary.

Location of the First Aid Kits

In the event of a serious injury or illness, quick and safe access to a first aid kit is vital.  First aid kits should be kept in a prominent, accessible location where they are able to be retrieved promptly, including in security-controlled workplaces.  First aid kits should be located close to areas where there is a higher risk of injury or illness; for example, near the kitchen of an electorate office.  Emergency floor plans displayed in Senators and Members’ offices should include the location of first aid kits.

Record Keeping

A record of any first aid treatment given should be kept by the FAO and reported to Konekt on a regular basis.  Records of injuries, illnesses, ‘near miss’ incidents and other information that has been obtained by the FAO can assist in controlling risks at the workplace, and will aid Finance, Senators and Members, FAOs and MOP(S) Act employees in making future decisions about first aid.

Section C – Risk Management in providing First Aid

MOP(S) Act Employees’ Workplaces: A mix of low and high risk

MOP(S) Act employees carry out their work in a variety of workplaces, from electorate offices, to PPVs, Parliament House and public spaces.  MOP(S) Act employees should therefore be aware that their health and safety risks may fluctuate according to their work environment. 

FAOs need to first identify potential causes of workplace injury and illness, before assessing the risk of workplace injury and illness, and deciding what first aid response is required.  First aid processes, equipment and training status within each office should be reviewed by the FAO quarterly.

To aid in this workplace specific process, Finance recommends using Safe Work Australia’s First Aid and the Risk Management Process.

High risk workplace means a workplace where workers are exposed to hazards that could result in serious injury or illness and would require first aid.  Examples of workplaces that may be considered high risk are ones in which workers are exposed to the risk of physical violence (for example, working alone at night or dealing with physically aggressive members of the public).

Low risk workplace means a workplace where workers are not exposed to hazards that could result in serious injury or illness. 

Standard Precautions for Infection Control

FAOs should take standard precautions to avoid becoming ill and exposing others to illness when handling blood or body substances.  Standard precautions are work practices that are applied to all patients and their blood and body substances, regardless of their infectious status, to ensure a basic level of infection prevention and control.  Standard precautions include hand hygiene, use of personal protective equipment, appropriate handling and disposal of sharps and waste, cleaning techniques and managing spills of blood and body substances.

Providing First Aid Safely

Before providing first aid to an injured or ill person, FAOs should assume they could be exposed to infection.  FAOs should wash their hands with soap and water or apply alcohol-based hand rub before and after administering first aid.  FAOs should also wear personal protective equipment to prevent contact with blood and body substances, including disposable gloves.  Eye protection, a mask and protective clothing may also be necessary if splashes of blood or body substances are likely to occur.

FAOs should be aware of what to do if they have accidental contact with blood or body substances, a sharps injury or contact with a person known to have a contagious illness.  Any part of the body that comes in contact with blood or body substances should be washed with soap and water immediately.  Prompt medical advice should be obtained.

Safe Work Australia’s First Aid and the Risk Management Process
Step 1 Identify potential causes of workplace injury and illness.
  • Does the nature of the work being carried out pose a hazard to people's health and safety?
  • Have these hazards been identified in work that is carried out?
  • Has incident and injury data been received?
  • Has consultation with workers and their health and safety representatives occurred?
  • Is specialist or external assistance required?
Step 2 Assess the risk of workplace injury and illness
  • How often does a hazard have the potential to cause harm?
  • What type of injuries would the hazards cause?
  • How serious are the injuries?
  • Does the number and composition of workers and other people affect how first aid should be provided?
  • Could the size and location of the workplace affect how first aid is provided?
Step 3 What first aid is required?

First aiders

  • How many first aiders are needed?
  • What competencies do they require?
  • What training do they need?

First aid kits and procedures

  • What kits/modules are needed and where should they be located?
  • Is other first aid equipment needed?
  • Who is responsible for maintaining the kits?
  • What procedures are needed for my workplace?

First aid facilities

  • Is a first aid room or health centre required?
Step 4 Review first aid to ensure effectiveness.

Contaminated Items

All items that are soiled with blood or body substances should be placed in plastic bags and tied securely.  Waste disposal should comply with any state or local government requirements.  Sharps, including scissors and tweezers, that have become contaminated with blood or body substances should be disposed of in a rigid-walled, puncture-resistant sharps container by the person that used them.

If an FAO sustains a sharps injury or thinks they are at risk of infection from blood or bodily fluid contamination, they should seek prompt medical advice.

Cleaning Spills

Cleaning by FAOs should commence as soon as possible after an incident involving blood or body substances has occurred.  The local office cleaner should be notified, using the usual process for communicating with the cleaner, of any spills involving blood or body substances.  FAOs should wear disposable gloves when cleaning spills and if splashes of blood or body substances may occur, additional protective equipment such as eye protection, plastic aprons and masks should be worn.  Surfaces that have been contaminated with blood or body substances should be wiped with paper towelling and cleaned with warm soapy water.  It is generally unnecessary to use sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach) for managing spills, but it may be used in specific circumstances, for example if the surface is hard to clean.

Section D – Reporting, Review & Approval

Reporting

All occurrences of workplace illness or injury must be reported via Konekt Response on 1300 880 777 as soon as possible.  If Konekt Response is unavailable, for example because the incident occurred outside standard working hours, notifiable incidents must be reported to Comcare on 1300 366 979 immediately.  The Notifiable Incident Flowchart will assist in determining what incidents should be reported to Comcare immediately.

Review

First aid and emergency management systems and procedures will be regularly monitored by Finance, in consultation with employing Senators and Members, the contracted work health and safety service providers, FAOs, EOs, and MOP(S) Act employees. Monitoring will be done by analysing incident/injury data and the information gathered through quarterly first aid kit inspections.  Ad hoc reviews may also take place following any substantial workforce changes, such as office relocations, a change in the profile of MOP(S) Act employees following an election, or where otherwise deemed appropriate.