Save a Life: Take a First Aid Course

Save a Life: Take a First Aid Course

Learning first aid is something touted by everyone from safety experts to nurses and doctors as being of the utmost importance. Many of us say we will do it later or wonder how important it could really be to learn something as seemingly simple as first aid. However, knowing how to properly administer first aid to an injured individual can decrease the severity of their injuries and even potentially save their life.

A small cut, burn, bump to the head, or other minor injury may seem like a trivial event, but even the most minor injury can turn into a serious medical problem without the appropriate first aid measures. For example, a small cut can become infected, fester, and become very painful unless properly attended. Such injuries can even cause the person to miss work, which causes both employer and employee to lose valuable money and time.

Although usually done with the best intentions, individuals that haven’t received first aid training often make multiple mistakes as they try to help someone with an injury. Such mistakes can make the injury worse or even have deadly consequences for the injured person.

Let’s look at some of the most commonly offered bad advice and mistakes made by those untrained to deliver first aid:

1. Tilt your head back to stop your nose bleed.

A person with a bleeding nose should never lean or tilt their head back, as this can cause the blood to run into their throat and potentially cause them to choke on their own blood. Instead, the person should take a seated position, lean forward, and pinch their nose just underneath the sides of the nasal bone. This position should be held for five to ten minutes. The person shouldn’t blow or pick at their nose and they shouldn’t bend over for several hours after the nose bleed subsides. Nosebleeds that continue over 20 minutes require medical attention.

2. Failing to act quickly in emergency situations.

This is by far one of the most common first aid mistakes people make. Your response time to a co-worker suffering a laceration over an artery could mean the difference between him bleeding to death in a matter of minutes and having a story to tell his family about his co-worker saving his life.

You should act quickly and calmly to elevate the area above the person’s heart (if possible) and apply direct pressure over the wound. Keep in mind that even injuries not of such direness should have a speedy reaction. For example, an untreated minor scratch on a piece of rusty metal can cause some serious complications, such as tetanus or sepsis. You should wash minor scratches, scrapes, and cuts with either clean running water or an antiseptic solution, apply an antibiotic ointment, and cover the area with a sterile gauze dressing.

3. Move that badly injured person to safety.

Unless an injured person is in an immediate and severely life threatening situation, they should never be moved. And, severely life threatening means circumstances like being moments from being burned alive within their wrecked car. Otherwise, you should immediately dial 911 and wait for the paramedics to arrive.

4. Put ice/butter on your burn.

Neither of these are appropriate treatments for a skin burn. Ice can cause the skin to get frostbitten, which only exacerbates burn damage. Butter can actually prevent the skin from healing as it should. It’s also worth mentioning that blisters from a burn should never be popped, as this increases the chances of the area becoming infected. Ointments should also be avoided initially because they can hold in heat. Instead, minor burns should be washed under cool water for about ten minutes and then have a sterile gauze bandage applied over it.

As you can see, the proper first aid training is essential to knowing what to do when injuries occur. It’s too late to get the training after an injury occurs; sign up for a first aid course before it’s needed. Do make sure that the first aid course you sign up for has a qualified instructor.

Workplace Illnesses and Injuries Continue to Decline

Workplace Illnesses and Injuries Continue to Decline

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses was full of good news. Despite the fact that private American companies reported nearly 3 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses, the incidence rate declined with 3.2 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers in 2014. The rate reported for 2014 continues a pattern of declines that, with the exception of 2012, occurred annually for the last 12 years.


Among Total Reportable Cases, No Category Increased

Over half of the nearly 3.0 million private industry injury and illness cases reported in 2014 involved days away from work, job transfer, or restriction (DART cases). These cases occurred at a rate of 1.7 cases per 100 full-time workers, unchanged from 2013.  The rates for the two components of DART cases—DAFW cases and DJTR cases—were also unchanged at 1.0 case and 0.7 cases per 100 workers, respectively. Other recordable cases—those not involving days away from work or days of job transfer or restriction—accounted for the remaining nearly 1.4 million injury and illness cases in 2014, lowering the rate by 0.1 cases to 1.5 cases per 100 full-time workers.


Most Injuries Occurred in Service-Providing Industries

Of the nearly 3.0 million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in 2014, 2.8 million (95.1 percent) were injuries. Among injuries, nearly 2.1 million (75.0 percent) occurred in service- providing industries, which employed 82.4 percent of the private industry workforce. The remaining nearly 0.7 million injuries (25.0 percent) occurred in goods-producing industries, which accounted for 17.6 percent of private industry employment.


The Incidence Rate for Occupational Illnesses was Highest in Manufacturing

Workplace illnesses accounted for 4.9 percent of the nearly 3.0 million injury and illness cases in 2014 and occurred at a rate of 15.3 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, down 1.3 cases from 2013.  Among individual illness categories, only the rate of reported skin diseases declined in 2014, tallying 0.5 cases to 2.3 cases per 10,000 full-time workers. Rates among the other individual illness categories were relatively unchanged compared to a year earlier.

Goods-producing industries accounted for 35.6 percent of all occupational illness cases in 2014, resulting in an incidence rate of 26.0 cases per 10,000 full-time workers—down 1.6 cases. Service- providing industries accounted for 64.4 percent of private industry illness cases and experienced a rate of 12.5 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2014—down 1.2 cases.


Additional Information is Available

If you’re interested in reading the entire BLS report, complete with 28-pages of charts and graphs, you can download it in PDF form at Before you do, consider the following simple steps you can take to reduce your own company’s incidence of workplace injury and illness regardless of your industry.


  1. Involve your employees in safety program planning – No one knows more about potential dangers in your workplace than the employees who spend a significant portion of each week on your factory floor, at your jobsite, or in your office space. Solicit their suggestions and gather their feedback on proposed measures before implementing any safety program.
  1. Encourage your employees to bring safety concerns to management’s attention – Create an environment in which your workers will feel comfortable voicing concerns about safety deficiencies, observed violations, and unreported accidents. It’s cheaper to fix safety problems than to ignore them, but you may need to gain your employees’ trust first.
  1. Provide your employees with clear work instructions – Deliver all safety training verbally, visually (with a demonstration), and in written form. Employees may have different learning styles, so covering all the bases will ensure everyone understands what is expected. Make sure you have each employee read and sign a document acknowledging this as well.
  2. Revisit your safety program at least once a year – Change is constant in most workplaces, whether you work in an office or on a construction site. For example, you may hire new staff, replace equipment or add new processes. Each alteration has the potential to render your safety guidelines obsolete, so review and modify them regularly. If you’re unsure how to adjust your program to your company’s changing needs, consult a workplace safety professional.