• Gary Clarkson

THE FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST - apply direct pressure to the wound and call for help.

I've just got back from a level 2 first aid course with the fantastic people at the Order of St.John. A very enjoyable day and half of training where I topped up old knowledge and learned some new skills.

So I thought I might talk about the requirements we have in workplace around the provision of first aid as well as share a couple of fantastic initiatives which St.John are getting behind to help keep our communities safer.

There is a statutory requirement under the Law that every organisation needs to provide readily accessible first aid provision to its workers. That includes enough first aid kits, in suitable locations and which hold sufficient first aid supplies appropriate to the risks present in the workplace.

e.g. A solution for a small office will not suffice for a large construction site or forestry work, etc.

You also need to provide an adequate number of trained first aiders, taking into account the number of people employed, shift work, holidays, locations etc.

Don't be like this.

Sounds complicated, but in reality it's not. The starting point is to carry out an "assessment of needs" covering the following:

  • The nature of the workplace and risks within

  • Any processes which create unique risks or where the potential injury might be significant

  • The number of workers and their skills, physical and/or mental impairments

  • The locations and layout of the workplace as well as the working hours and shift patterns

  • How close to professional medical care you are located, including transient workers

  • Any other people who might be affected.

As it happens, Worksafe NZ have some good reference documents and templates available to help you.

So why is first aid important?

The Order of St.John is a charity organisation which relies on a great deal of goodwill and volunteers to provide the emergency response that we all hope we will never need.

You may or may not be aware that at any point in time here in Dunedin there are a maximum of 4 Ambulances available to cover our City (the further out of town we go the less provision there is). It can take up to 2 hours for an ambulance to arrive, depending on how busy they are - and they are busy a lot of the time.

9 times out of 10, first aid issues are minor cuts, bumps and sprains.

But if something serious happens, the provision of appropriate first aid facilities may be the thing that keeps people alive until our ambulance heroes get to us.

Not only is it a legal requirement but providing good first aid arrangements shows your people that you care about them. It's good business and the right thing to do.

Its not just important at work

A lot of unfortunate events occur at home or during our leisure time and sometimes it can be serious.

How prepared are you if little Johnny falls and slices his head open, or your elderly neighbour has a stroke of heart attack, what if you come across a car accident and you're the first on the scene?

Would you know what to do?

Why not sign up for a first aid course, or even do a bit of reading and up-skill yourself - You may just have it in you to save a life!


Access to a defibrillator, in the event of a heart attack, can make the difference between someone surviving and not. But where might you find one?

Well, funnily enough there is an app for that.

Jump onto your iPhone or other less sexy device :-) and search for "AED locations NZ". This wee app uses you phone map to show you where the nearest one is.

Maybe your organisation might want to invest in a defibrillator for your workplace and the community. If you do, register it on the app.

They really can make a difference.


This is an initiative which The Order of St.John are getting behind and which I think is awesome.

If you hold a formal first aid qualification you can register on this and if someone calls an ambulance for a cardiac arrest or heart attack, the app alerts you if you are within 1Km of the person. It directs you to the nearest defibrillator and shows you how to get to the patient.

The beauty of this is that in time critical circumstances such as these, you will likely get there before the Ambulance and can begin CPR if required.

How often do you hear about a neighbour who has had a medical event and the first you know about it is the ambulance or fire engine showing up on your street.

It happened on our street a few months ago and sadly the person passed away.

Who knows if someone could have helped sooner it may just have made a difference.

Have a search for GoodSAM and get involved in helping our communities

I hope this months Blog has been useful and if I can help in anyway with your assessment of first Aid needs or want to discuss any other safety related matters - as always, please do get in touch.

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