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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.

Last updated: 30 September 2019