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Published: 2019-05-22T07:30:00Z

1. If you think someone is having a stroke, you can use the FAST test. What does FAST stand for?

2. What are the signs of Heat Exhaustion?

3. Injury to an artery or, a vein causes blood to 'spurt'? How would you treat such an injury?

4. What are the legal requirements for first aid at work?


Answers below.....

1. If you think someone is having a stroke, you can use the FAST test. What does FAST stand for?


Ask them to smile. Is there weakness on one side of their face?


Ask them to raise both arms. Are they only able to lift one arm?


Ask them to speak. Are they struggling to speak clearly?


If the answer to any of these three questions is yes, then it is time to call 999 and say you think the casualty is having a stroke. For more information please see: Stroke

2. What are the signs of Heat Exhaustion?

Symptoms include:

  • headache, dizziness and confusion
  • loss of appetite and feeling sick
  • excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
  • cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
  • fast breathing or pulse
  • temperature of 38C or above
  • intense thirst

In addition to the symptoms above children may become floppy and sleepy.

For advice on treatment please see: Heat Exhaustion

3. Injury to an artery or, a vein causes blood to 'spurt'? How would you treat such an injury?

Arterial blood is under direct pressure from the heart pumping and 'spurts' in time with the heartbeat. Blood loss is rapid and can be life-threatening in just 2 minutes. Arterial blood is rich in oxygen and 'bright red', but this is difficult to assess. Looking at how the wound bleeds is easier.

Treatment of bleeding

  1. Sit or lay the casualty down, appropriate to the location of the wound and the extent of the bleeding.
  2. Examine very quickly the type of bleeding (arterial, venous, of capillary). Identify the exact point of bleeding so you can apply pressure to the right spot. Look for foreign objects such as glass in the wound.
  3. Apply direct pressure to the wound. The pressure should be continuous for 10 minutes. If there is an embedded object, you may be able to apply pressure at either side of it (never remove the embedded object).
  4. You may be able to put a dressing on immediately and apply the direct pressure over it. A dressing should be sterile and have a surface that will not stick to the clotting blood. The dressing should not restrict blood flow to the rest of the limb.
  5. Pressure by hand will be necessary for severe bleeding.  If a dressing gets saturated with blood, keep it in place; put another dressing on top and apply extra pressure by hand. If this doesn't work take the dressing off and make sure you are applying direct pressure to the exact point of bleeding.

4. What are the legal requirements for first aid at work?

First aid can save lives and prevent minor injuries becoming major ones. Every employer has a duty of care to provide, or ensure that there are provided adequate and appropriate facilities and equipment to cater for their employees if they are injured or become ill at work. They have a legal duty to make arrangements, to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. This legislation is laid out in Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 – updated 2015.

The Health & Sector Executive (HSE) compile annual statistics for accidents and they make stark reading, highlighting the vital importance of first aid in the workplace. Key figures for Great Britain (2017/18):

An employer should make an assessment of first-aid needs appropriate to the circumstances (hazards and risks) of each workplace. Where an employer provides first-aiders in the workplace, they should ensure they have undertaken suitable training, have an appropriate first-aid qualification and remain competent to perform their role. Typically, first-aiders will hold a valid certificate of competence in either first aid at work (FAW) or emergency first aid at work (EFAW).

When arranging FAW or EFAW or other equivalent training, employers should let the training organisation know of any particular hazards at their workplace so training can be tailored to meet those needs. HSE strongly recommends that first-aiders undertake annual refresher training during any three-year FAW/EFAW certification period. Employers should also encourage first-aiders to regularly review their course manual and any other instructional materials and allocate them time to do this. It will further help to maintain their first-aid skills.

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