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Top 5 characteristics of a good first aider

In Canada, each province has regulations relating to first aid in the workplace. 

It is a common misconception that certifying one employee in first aid and CPR will meet the requirements. There are a few situations where this may be true, but generally, it only applies when there is a one-person work area, such as a taxi or a truck.

The regulations stipulate there must always be someone on duty in the work area with current first aid certification. It is the employer’s responsibility to determine how many employees to certify.

If any of the following situations arise when there is only one first-aid certified employee at a workplace, the employer will be out of compliance:

•Employee is on vacation, sick leave or is working from home or another location.

•Employee only covers one shift cycle of multiple shifts.

•Employee is the injured employee needing assistance.

•Employee faints at the sight of blood or injury.

•Employee is not able to access all areas of the work operation due to restricted access.

It may take three, four or more employees per shift, and per work area, trained in first aid to be in compliance with provincial first-aid regulations.

In addition to deciding how many employees to train in first aid, employers should carefully consider who they should train. For some people, the mere mention of blood makes them woozy. For others, they are not comfortable with touching people or taking charge of a situation.

Here are the top five characteristics of a good first aider candidate:

•Genuinely interested in taking a first-aid course and being a designated first aider.

•Has previously been trained in first aid and has had some experience in its application (such as a former lifeguard).

•Management or supervisory material — ready and willing to take charge if someone is injured.

•Has reliable attendance and works in close proximity to the first-aid station.

•Is a people-person who has demonstrated a willingness to help others.

If you don’t have the right candidates in place at the moment, consider including first-aid training and experience as a requirement in your next employment vacancy posting.

Dianne Rende

Dianne Rende is the executive director of the St. John Ambulance, Peel Dufferin Branch in Ontario. Read more of her blogs at www.sjapeel.ca/blog.
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