Businesses unaware of first aid safety

Nearly 90 per cent of businesses are not aware of first aid processes and less than half of businesses have appropriate workplace first aid resources such as first aid kits and signage, according to a new survey by St John Ambulance Australia.

St John's First Aid Readiness in the Australian Workplace report reveals that the lack of first aid knowledge of many businesses are putting millions of employees at risk, with only one in five employees indicating they have participated in first aid procedures training or drills. In addition, 65 per cent of Australian employers are unaware of Safe Work Australia's new Code of Practice, which provides information on first aid kits, procedures, facilities and training. Only 48 per cent of workplaces provide accredited first aid training to their employees.

At a state level, the report found that Victoria and New South Wales/ACT had the highest levels of first aid readiness, while Western Australia had the lowest level with less than one in 10 businesses meeting the new Code of Practice guidelines.

Industry-wise, only one in 10 hospitality workplaces and six per cent of retail businesses were compliant with the new Code guidelines, compared to 21 per cent of education workplaces.

According to St John Ambulance Australia's CEO, Peter LeCornu, a serious first aid knowledge gap exists amongst businesses.

"Australian workplaces are in a volatile situation and employers need to act now to reduce the risk to their employees, customers and ultimately their businesses," Mr LeCornu said in a statement.

"Administering first aid in the first five minutes after an incident can dramatically change the outcome. Businesses need to be prepared to save a life and empower their employees with the confidence to act."

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