Workplace First Aid Basics
If someone requires emergency medical attention at work, co-workers in the immediate vicinity are responsible for calling 999. Be prepared to act decisively and help save a life.
First-aid knowledge and decisive action can mean the difference between life and death. If someone requires emergency medical attention on the job, co-workers in the immediate vicinity should call 999 and, if trained, apply first aid while waiting for the paramedics.
Although this advice is not meant to substitute formal first-aid training, even a basic knowledge of first aid could help in emergency situations.
When you encounter an emergency in the workplace, do the following:
- Assess the situation without putting yourself in danger.
- Make the area safe.
- Determine the severity of any injuries, attending to unconscious victims first.
- Designate a specific person to send for help.
When checking for a response from a possibly unconscious victim, perform these steps:
- Lightly shake the victim’s shoulders, asking loudly, ‘Are you all right?’
- If you receive no response, open the victim’s airway by tilting the head back.
- Check for normal breathing by listening closely to the victim’s nose and mouth and looking for the rise and fall of the chest.
- Take appropriate action, but only perform rescue breathing or CPR if you are certified.
For more specific emergencies, consider the following:
- Severe bleeding. Apply direct pressure to the wound. Raise and support the injury (unless the bone is broken) while wrapping a tight dressing firmly in place.
Broken bones and spinal injuries. Do not move victims with a suspected spinal injury unless they are in immediate danger.
- Burns. Cool the burn with cold water until pain subsides. If you suspect the burn is serious, seek medical help. In the event of a chemical burn, remove all contaminated clothing.
- Eye injuries. Wash out the eye with water or a sterile solution to remove foreign objects. Do not attempt to remove anything embedded in the eye.
Always write down any necessary first-aid or emergency response actions you took for employer records.
And remember the most important thing in emergency situations is to remain calm—doing so could help save a life.
Workplace Burnout and How to Address It
Employees that are overworked experience a special kind of stress known as ‘burnout’.
If left unaddressed, burnout can leave employees feeling helpless, worn-out, cynical and unmotivated. This, in turn, can contribute to high turnover or, in extreme cases, employee depression and other mental health issues.
Burnout can be caused by a variety factors, and typically differs depending on the employee and the situation. However, the following are some of the most common causes of employee burnout:
- Unclear expectations. Often, employees that are not sure what’s expected of them have trouble feeling comfortable or passionate about their work. A lack of control over the decisions that impact their job duties can make matters worse, leading to a sense of helplessness.
- Workplace dysfunction. Outside of an employee’s regular job duties, poor workplace dynamics can also contribute to burnout. In most cases, this occurs as a result of an employee being bullied, micromanaged or undermined by his or her peers.
- Work-life imbalance. Cited as one of the leading contributors to burnout, lacking a strong work-life balance makes it hard for employees to keep the general stresses of work from impacting their personal lives.
- Extremes in activity. Whether a job is fast-paced or monotonous, extremes in activity can be physically and mentally taxing. This is because these types of jobs require extra focus, which often leads to fatigue and burnout.
Most ways of preventing workplace burnout—fostering a culture of flexibility, managing hours, etc—must come from employers. Still, employees have unique tactics they can put into practise to manage the situation.
For example, employees should adopt healthy eating, exercising and sleeping habits to avoid stress. Beginning and ending each day with a relaxing ritual can help employees ease into and out of the working day. Above all, employees should speak with a manager or HR if they are concerned about burnout.
Real-life Case Study
Simon is a cashier at a Glasgow clothing store that specialises in men’s formal wear. Recently, the retailer hired a new day-shift manager because the team was behind on monthly sales.
To make up for lost productivity, the new manager pushed Simon and the other workers harder than they were used to—setting aggressive daily objectives. Because of this, Simon had to put in overtime hours on several occasions to accomplish his daily responsibilities.
To add to the stress, the new manager disregarded several of Simon’s suggestions to improve the daily workflow and increase potential sales. As a result of all of this, Simon felt overworked and under appreciated.
However, after speaking with an HR representative, Simon was able to address his concerns in a healthy way.
Since then, the store has conducted an in-depth assessment of the overall project workflow. In addition, a new overtime policy that encourages a work-life balance and takes into account employee stress was implemented.