Does OSHA Require First Aid/CPR Training?
Many employers today wonder what the requirements are when it comes to training their employees in First Aid/CPR. Is it, or is it not required? Will employers be held liable or at fault if none of their employees are trained? What is the right thing to do?
Many other questions that arise regarding training employees in First Aid/CPR are based off of the distance and time it would take medical services to get to a facility. In some cases, businesses are right next to a first responder, and in other cases it could take over 30-minutes for any emergency services to arrive. So, does everyone have to be trained in first aid? What about CPR? What if there is a career rescue squad within close proximity to the workplace?
OSHA’s General Industry Standard States:
In regard to the General Industry standard, OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.151(b) states, “In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid. Adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available.”
OSHA’s Construction Standard States:
While in the Construction Industry, OSHA’s 29 CFR 1926.50(c) states, “In the absence of an infirmary clinic, hospital, or physician, that is reasonably accessible in terms of time and distance to the worksite, which is available for the treatment of injured employees, a person who has a valid certificate in first-aid training from the U.S. Bureau of Mines, the American Red Cross, or equivalent training that can be verified by documentary evidence, shall be available at the worksite to render first aid.”
The Main First Aid/CPR Requirement to Remember:
When it comes down to it, OSHA’s primary requirement is that employers MUST ensure PROMPT First Aid treatment for employees, either by providing for the availability of a trained first aid provider at the worksite, or by ensuring that emergency treatment services are within reasonable proximity of the worksite.
How far is “near proximity” and “reasonably accessible” according to OSHA?
A letter of interpretation was released from OSHA that gives employers the following information:
“The employer must take appropriate steps prior to any accident (such as making arrangements with the service provider) to ascertain that emergency medical assistance will be promptly available when an injury occurs. While the standards do not prescribe a number of minutes, OSHA has long interpreted the term “near proximity” to mean that emergency care must be available within no more than 3-4 minutes from the workplace, an interpretation that has been upheld by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and by federal courts.
Medical literature establishes that, for serious injuries such as those involving stopped breathing, cardiac arrest, or uncontrolled bleeding, first aid treatment must be provided within the first few minutes to avoid permanent medical impairment or death. Accordingly, in workplaces where serious accidents such as those involving falls, suffocation, electrocution, or amputation are possible, emergency medical services must be available within 3-4 minutes, if there is no employee on the site who is trained to render first aid. OSHA exercises discretion in enforcing the first aid requirements in particular cases. OSHA recognizes that a somewhat longer response time of up to 15 minutes may be reasonable in workplaces, such as offices, where the possibility of such serious work-related injuries is more remote.” Click this link to access OSHA’s Standard Interpretation and for additional information on First Aid/CPR training.
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