First Aid - Policy

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1. Purpose and Objectives

This policy outlines the responsibilities of Heads of School/Section/Director of Institute or Centre, academic and professional staff supervisors, staff, students and visitors in the provision of first aid at the University in order to prevent further dangerous incidents occurring, to preserve life, to stabilise the casualty's condition, to promote recovery and to protect and comfort the ill or injured.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

First Aid - the initial care of the ill or injured

Head - Head of Faculty/School/Section/Director of Institute or Centre

PPE - Personal Protective Equipment

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to all University staff, students and visitors.

4. Policy Statement

The provision of adequate First Aid equipment, trained personnel, information, facilities and services for all staff and visitors (students are included in this category) is a requirement under the Work Health and Safety Act (Qld) 2011. The Queensland Government First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice 2014 clarifies the minimum requirements and responsibilities of Faculties/Schools/Centres/Institutes with regard to First Aid.

The assistance of Heads, First Aid Officers and Work Health and Safety Coordinators is sought in order to implement the requirements for provision of First Aid throughout the University.

5. Responsibilities for First Aid

5.1 Heads

  • Ensure that adequate resources have been allocated for carrying out First Aid in accordance with this First Aid Policy;
  • Review the performance of supervisors, staff and students with regard to their occupational health and safety responsibilities and potential needs for First Aid; and
  • Ensure that appropriate records are kept.

5.2 Academic and Professional Staff Supervisors

  • Provide appropriate supervision to ensure that staff, students and visitors comply with the First Aid Policy;
  • Supervise the development of Risk Assessments for First Aid and approve First Aid Officer appointments and provisions including the training of first aiders, and the provision of facilities such as First Aid Kits for staff under their supervision;
  • Ensure the provision, maintenance and proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) associated with First Aid; and
  • Ensure that corrective action is implemented for all incidents and accidents involving First Aid.

5.3 Staff and Students

  • Participate in development of risk assessments, and discuss the need for the provision of First Aid and obtain approval from the supervisor and Head prior to the commencement of work (e.g. at the planning stage of a project);
  • Participate in induction and First Aid training programs as instructed by supervisor;
  • Ensure that emergency procedures and equipment are in place for high risk activities;
  • Wear PPE as provided by the University in compliance with First Aid training; and
  • Review and update First Aid provisions in relation to change in the work activities. This should be done in consultation with the supervisor.

6. Reporting

Any incident, injury, illness or near miss event associated with first aid must be reported via the Incident Reporting Database and/or verbally to the Head and the Occupational Health and Safety Division (see PPL 2.10.07).

Director, Health, Safety and Wellness Mr Jim Carmichael


First Aid - Guidelines

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1. Purpose and Objectives

This guideline provides information about the processes required to implement optimum first aid provision at the University of Queensland.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

CPR - Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation

First Aider - a person who has successfully completed a nationally accredited training course or an equivalent level of training in first aid provision e.g. doctor, paramedic or nurse

HIV - Human immunodeficiency virus

WHS - Workplace Health and Safety

UQ Nominated First Aid Officer - A member of staff who is a first aider and has been nominated by Head of School or Section to receive a fortnightly allowance payment for performing the role of First Aid Officer for a specified University workplace.

Worker - all UQ staff and HDR students, including academics, lecturers, tutors, researchers, sabbatical/visiting staff, casual staff, vacation scholars, volunteers, work experience students (as interpreted from the Work Health and Safety Act 2011)

3. Guidelines Scope/Coverage

These guidelines apply to all staff, students, contractors and visitors at The University of Queensland.

4. Guidelines Statement

Providing prompt and effective first aid to an injured person can reduce the severity of an injury or illness and can substantially promote the chances of an injured person making a full recovery. In some instances, first aid intervention can prevent loss of life. First aid requirements at UQ will vary across campuses and workplaces according to the nature of hazards and tasks and the size and location of the workplace. Senior managers must assess the risk of injury occurring in their work areas and ensure staff and students have adequate access to first aid provision at all times. This guideline outlines the factors that must be taken into account by senior managers and supervisors when deciding on first aid requirements and provides guidance about the role of a UQ Nominated First Aid Officer and other first aiders on administering first aid, in accordance with Queensland's WHS legislation and First Aid in the Workplace, Code of Practice (2014).

5. Emergency Notices

All workplaces must display an up-to-date emergency contacts notice, listing the locations and contact numbers on campus for:

  • the First Aid Officer for the workplace
  • Campus Security
  • the Work Health and Safety Coordinator
  • Building Emergency Warden
  • Floor Emergency Warden.

Other useful information includes:

A list of campus-specific emergency card templates is available from the Property and Facilities website

For off-campus locations, advice appropriate to the particular location should be displayed e.g. "000", appropriate hospital extension, emergency services, Poisons Information Centre and other relevant telephone numbers.

University Health Services are available on weekdays (public holidays excluded) at the following times:

6. Responsibilities

6.1 Heads of School/Organisational Unit

Heads of Schools or organisational units should assess first aid requirements for their operation in consultation with workers taking into account the size and location of the workplace and response times for UQ security and emergency services. For further guidance, refer to First Aid in the Workplace, Code of Practice (2014) - Section 2.

In determining the minimum number of Nominated First Aid Officers for a given area, Heads should make allowances for times when trained first aiders are absent or unavailable e.g. work contracts, work commitments, meal breaks, recreation leave and out-of-hours work. First aid facilities and services must be reviewed periodically to ensure their adequacy.

Workers should be consulted in the planning phase and whenever significant changes in work practices are proposed that could impact on health and safety. In addition, each workplace should develop an accident plan (see section 7.2 below). Risk assessments should be undertaken using the UQ Risk Management Database in accordance with PPL 2.30.01 Occupational Health and Safety Risk Management Procedures.

6.2 UQ Nominated First Aid Officers

UQ Nominated First Aid Officers must ensure:

  • First Aid Officers names are prominently displayed in the workplace
  • First Aid kits and any relevant first aid equipment is adequately signposted - refer to section 12 of this guideline
  • First aid kit supplies are regularly maintained and replenished and ensure any relevant first aid equipment is checked and remains fit for purpose - refer to section 13 of this guideline
  • First aid training competencies are current
  • they respond promptly to requests for first aid assistance and to apply first aid within the scope of certified training
  • they arrange for additional security/ambulance and medical assistance for a casualty, where appropriate
  • documentation of administered first aid is accurately recorded and kept in accordance with section 13 of this guideline
  • they notify the OHS Division on providing notice to leave employment with the University, take extended leave in excess of three months or move to another area or position at the University.

Further guidance on first aider responsibilities is available from Safework Australia.

7. Risk Assessment

Under Work Health and Safety legislation, the University is obliged to ensure access to facilities for the administration of first aid, provide relevant first aid equipment and ensure that adequate numbers of workers are trained to administer first aid at the workplace or that workers have adequate access to alternative qualified assistance.

To determine the number of qualified first aiders required to be on site at a University workplace, a risk assessment must be undertaken. Records of prior injuries, illnesses and 'near miss' incidents can be obtained from the UQ Incident, Illness and Injury database. This information can be useful when making decisions about first aid provision in a workplace.

Particular consideration should be given to the following areas where workers are exposed to hazards that could result in serious injury or illness. Examples at the University are workplaces in which workers:

  • undertake work tasks using hazardous machinery or equipment, e.g. mobile plant, lathes, gantry cranes, chainsaws, power presses
  • use materials that are associated with the potential for serious injury likely to require immediate attention e.g. hazardous substances in laboratories, workshops and agricultural workplaces
  • are performing work in remote or potentially hazardous locations, e.g. confined spaces, farms and some field trips
  • are exposed to injury from animals e.g. bites, stings, kicks, crush injuries, scratches
  • are at risk of a fall e.g. construction sites, field trips
  • are exposed to extreme heat or cold e.g. field trips, prolonged outdoor exertion in extreme temperatures
  • are exposed to the risk of physical violence.

7.1 Managing the risk of First Aid Officers being exposed to biological hazards

Contact with human blood or body substances carries the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV being transferred from one person to another. In some first aid situations, first aid personnel or the ill or injured person may be at risk of exposure to these biological hazards. This risk can be reduced by using UQ risk management processes and applying safety controls as outlined in PPL 2.60.10 Working Safely with Blood and Body Fluids - Policy.

7.2 Emergency plans

WHS legislation (WHS Regulation, section 43) requires the University to ensure an emergency plan is prepared for the workplace that provides procedures to respond effectively in an emergency. The emergency plan must include medical treatment and assistance. Heads must therefore ensure local procedures:

  • specify response procedures for an injury or illness e.g. notify supervisor, call Security who will coordinate the emergency response and call an ambulance if necessary
  • list first aid equipment, first aid officers and locations of first aid kits at the workplace
  • include a procedure for effective communication between the authorised person co-ordinating an emergency response and all persons in the workplace
  • allocate specific tasks e.g. First Aid Officer to care for ill/injured person
  • include emergency transport arrangements e.g. planning to have a vehicle available to transport the ill or injured
  • include procedures for evacuating the workplace.

For further information refer to PPL 7.60.01 Critical Incident Management

8. First Aid Personnel

First aid personnel need to be:

  • able to remain calm in an emergency
  • reliable
  • able to complete required study
  • able to use knowledge and skills gained from first aid skills training
  • sufficiently healthy and physically able to perform first aid and CPR procedures,
  • immunised against Hepatitis B
  • funded by the relevant School or Centre - see PPL 5.50.11 Appointment of First Aid Officers
  • sufficiently trained to recognise when the treatment required is beyond the scope of their training and experience and refer the casualty for medical attention
  • able to undertake first aid training as outlined in section 6 of this document.

9. First Aid Training

All UQ Nominated First Aid Officers must hold nationally recognised certificates of attainment in providing first aid and CPR. These certificates must be issued by a training provider listed as a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Other persons at the University may be required to undertake first aid training in workplaces associated with a higher risk of serious injury occurring or for specific projects such as those involving high risk activities such as boating and some field trips. These persons are not necessarily a UQ Nominated First Aid Officer.

Supervisors must ensure there are sufficient personnel with first aid training appropriate to the level of risk for their workplace. First aid training must remain current with certificates acquired or updated in the last three years, and annually for CPR training.

9.1 Minimum level of first aid training

For most low risk workplaces or for higher risk workplaces where prompt emergency medical services are readily available, a registered training course providing the following units of competency is the minimum level of training required:

  • Provide first aid - HLTAID003
  • Provide basic emergency life support - HLTAID002
  • Provide cardio-pulmonary resuscitation - HLTAID001.

The certificate of competency for first aid is valid for 3 years and 1 year for CPR. UQ Nominated First Aid Officers must renew their competency requirements within the specified time intervals during the period they are acting in that nominated position.

9.2 Advanced first aid training

Nominated First Aid Officers should be willing to extend their level of training as identified by a risk assessment for their workplace or as detailed in their job description.

Subject to a risk assessment, further extended first aid training for first aiders (not necessarily the UQ Nominated First Aid Officer) may be required for the following instances:

  • High risk work areas where there is no prompt access to security or onsite medical services.
  • Remote field trip work where there is no prompt access to medical services.
  • Work areas where a first aid room is located.
  • Where there is a substantial risk of anaphylaxis occurring in a workplace.

9.2.1 High risk work areas where there is no prompt access to security or onsite medical services

The following additional units of competency can provide the first aider with an extended level of training to apply advanced first aid procedures such as administering oxygen and maintaining life in an unconscious casualty while waiting for medical help to arrive.

  • Provide Advanced First Aid - HLTAID006
  • Provide Advanced Resuscitation - HLTAID007.

Note - Provide First Aid - HLTAID003 and Provide cardio-pulmonary resuscitation - HLTAID001 or Provide Basic Emergency Life Support - HLTAID002 are prerequisite competencies for advanced level first aid training.

9.2.2 Remote field trip work where there is no prompt access to medical services

In addition to the units described in section 9.2.1, the following additional unit of competency provides the first aider with skills to administer first aid in a remote and/or isolated situation, including preparing a casualty for aero-evacuation. This level of training is suitable when activities are anticipated in areas where there is likely to be a major delay in accessing emergency services.

  • Provide First Aid In Remote Situations - HLTAID005.

Note - Provide First Aid - HLTAID003 and Provide cardio-pulmonary resuscitation - HLTAID001 or Provide Basic Emergency Life Support - HLTAID002  are prerequisite competencies for advanced level first aid training.

9.2.3 Work areas where a first aid room is located

The following additional units provides competencies to apply advanced first aid procedures and to manage a first aid room.

  • Provide Advanced First Aid - HLTAID006
  • Provide Advanced Resuscitation - HLTAID007
  • Manage First Aid Services and Resources - HLTAID008


  • Occupational First Aid Skill Set - HLTSS00027 (which includes all the above competencies).

Note - Provide First Aid - HLTAID003 and Provide cardio-pulmonary resuscitation - HLTAID001 or Provide Basic Emergency Life Support - HLTAID002 are prerequisite competencies for advanced level first aid training.

9.2.4 Where there is a substantial risk of anaphylaxis occurring in a workplace

First Aid Officers who are located in a workplace associated with an increased risk of severe allergic reactions occurring may also consider additional training in the following competency units if not already covered in currently held first aid training competencies.

  • First Aid Management of Anaphylaxis - 22099VIC
  • First Aid Management of Asthma in the workplace - 22024VIC.

Refer to PPL 2.60.23 First Aid Management of Anaphylaxis.

9.3 Further training information

Resuscitation guidelines are regularly updated so it is important that First Aid Officers regularly check the Australian Resuscitation Council website to remain aware of any changes to relevant guidelines.

For general information on first aid training and examples of external first aid training providers, refer to UQ OHS webpage Information for First Aid Officers.

Information about first aid training courses held on campus at Gatton and St Lucia is available on the OH&S Training Calendar webpage or Staff Development OHS webpage.

For further information about provision of first aid training providers refer to the Australian Government Department of Industry training website.

10. Employee Assistance Program

First Aid Officers who administer first aid in situations where severe injuries have occurred may become very distressed by the occurence. The First Aid Officer and other University staff who witness a serious incident should be informed about the availability of confidential psychological assistance from the employee asistance program for themselves and other University staff should they require it. This is available at The University of Queensland through Staff Assistance Services - 5.70.06 Staff Assistance Services.

11. First Aid Supplies

It is the responsibility of the UQ Nominated First Aid Officer to familiarise themselves with the location and contents of the first aid kit in their workplace. Access to first aid supplies must be provided for workers in every UQ workplace. Workplaces which do not have a Nominated First Aid Officer should contact security for first aid assistance as all Security Officers are trained in first aid and are equipped with first aid kits. First aid supplies at UQ should be stored in a dust proof first aid cabinet or small case which should:

  • be located in a readily-accessible position with adequate signage - refer to section 12 of this guideline
  • include a brief record of attendance and treatment which should be fixed to the inner surface of the lid
  • have every first aid occurrence reported to the Occupational Health and Safety Division via an Incident Report completed on the University of Queensland’s Injury, Illness and Incident database. Notification of incidents is required so that the Occupational Health and Safety Division can promptly report, on behalf of the University, work related illness, serious bodily injury or a dangerous occurrence to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.
  • be equipped and maintained with the first aid requisites taking into account the nature of the work
  • be fully stocked by arranging replacement of used items and ensuring the kits remain in a clean and tidy state
  • have a notice listing all current emergency services telephone numbers and addresses - see section 5 of this document
  • have a record of all first aid measures undertaken to accompany an ill or injured person when they are transferred to secondary medical care.

To determine whether your first aid kit is stocked appropriately, refer to Checklist for First Aid Kits.

12. Signage

First aid signs must comply with AS 1319: 1994 - Safety Signs for the Occupational Environment. Signs which are white font or cross on a green background must be displayed where they will assist someone in easily locating the first aid kit, first aid equipment and facilities.

An example of a first aid sign available from the UQ Stores catalogue.


13. Maintenance of First Aid Kits

The First Aid Officer nominated by the Head of School or local safety committee is responsible for ensuring that the contents of first aid kits are checked on a regular basis (at least monthly in workplaces associated with high risk activities and three monthly in lower risk areas) and replenished as soon as possible after use or when stock expires. First aid kits should be stocked appropriate to the type of activities undertaken and the numbers of persons at risk in the work area. To minimise the cost of maintaining first aid kits, some supplies are available through the University Store. For recommended contents of first aid kits and additional first aid kit contents for treating specific injuries and work related illnesses, refer to List of First Aid Supplies on the OHS Website.

For contents and procedures for cleaning and disposing of blood or body fluid spills, refer to PPL 2.60.10 Working Safely With Blood and Body Fluids. There is also an instructional video available on the UQ OHS Website.

14. First Aid Rooms

First Aid in the Workplace, Code of Practice (2014) advises that a first aid room should be provided in workplaces where a risk assessment shows that it would make the provision of first aid treatment more effective for that workplace. It is recommended that first aid rooms are supervised by first aiders with occupational first aid certificates (or higher) - refer to Section 9.2.3 of this guideline.

The first aid room entrance should be adequately marked with first aid signage and should provide egress wide enough to permit transport of injured or ill persons supported by a stretcher, wheelchair or persons manually carrying the injured person.

14.1 Recommended first aid room contents

The following items should be provided:

  • hand cleaner and wash basin (or easy access to a sink with hot and cold water)
  • disposable paper towels
  • an examination couch with waterproof surface, pillow and disposable sheets
  • suitable seating
  • an occupational first aid reference book
  • a moveable screen or curtain around examination couch
  • a first aid kit appropriate for the workplace
  • an examination lamp
  • storage cupboard
  • a stretcher (not necessary for areas with security response)
  • a lockable filing cabinet to securely store records
  • a telephone and/or emergency call system
  • electric power points
  • refuse containers lined with disposable plastic bags for infection control and clinical wastes
  • a safe sharps disposal container
  • workbench with work surface or dressing trolley
  • emergency contacts cards - see section 5 of this guideline
  • oxygen equipment - in workplaces where there is an increased risk of a serious injury occurring and where hazardous substances, particularly cyanide, are stored or used.

15. Record Keeping

First aid treatment records are subject to requirements under Health Records legislation.

Nominated First Aid Officers shall:

16. Special Requirements for High Risk Areas

Workplaces with chemical hazards that require specialist first aid treatments or procedures should obtain information from the Occupational Health and Safety Division. Some first aid procedures for chemical exposures require specific antidotes or neutralising agents, some of which may need to be kept in first aid kits.

Where specific items are required, instructions for their use should be displayed at the point where they are kept. Strategies need to be developed by the relevant work areas relating to the emergency management of accidental exposures. The strategies should focus upon procedures such as the location of antidotes and the provision of safety facilities such as showers, eye wash stations and disposable eye wash packs. There are guidance documents available for the following hazardous chemicals:

Hydrofluoiric acid - PPL 2.70.18 Working Safely with Hydrofluoric Acid

Phenol - PPL 2.70.24 Working Safely with Phenol

Cyanide - PPL 2.70.15 Working Safely with Cyanide

Please note - the antidote for cyanide needs to be administered by a medical doctor. The antidote is kept at the University Health Service at St Lucia Campus and at UQ Chemical Store and in specific workplaces at the University where cyanide is used. The antidote is to be provided to the attending Queensland Ambulance personnel for immediate use by the hospital emergency staff or by paramedics.

Where corrosive materials or substantial quantities of flammable liquids are used it is necessary to supply safety showers and eye wash units. The use of refillable eye wash bottles is not recommended. Disposable eye wash packs or potable running tap water (water quality suitable for drinking) are to be used for eye irrigation.

Refer to PPL 2.60.22 First Aid for Burns including Chemical Burns for further information.

17. Infectious Disease and First Aid

The risk of acquiring an infectious disease when administering first aid is very low. Stringent infection control practices should however be followed such as handwashing, wearing protective disposable gloves and using a mouth shield or resuscitation bag and mask when administering CPR. Occupational transmission of serious infectious diseases such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV is very infrequent but can occur if the person administering assistance sustains a sharps injury from an instrument contaminated with infected blood or is exposed to blood in the eye or other mucosal surface. The optimal way for first aid personnel to protect themselves from bloodborne infections is to consider all injured or ill persons to be potentially infectious. First aid transmission of these infections can be avoided with a combination of immunisation and effective infection control practices - refer to PPL 2.60.10 Working Safely With Blood and Body Fluids.

17.1 Immunisation

First aid personnel are recommended to have completed the standard Australian National Childhood Immunisation Schedule and to also to be immunised against Hepatitis B. UQ Nominated First Aid Officers can obtain vaccination via the workplace (and screening to confirm Hepatitis B immunity) by contacting the Occupational Health Nurse Advisor at the OHS Division. Annual Influenza vaccination is recommended for all health care providers. First aid personnel can obtain Influenza vaccination via the annual UQ Staff Influenza Immunisation programme or from their personal health provider.

17.2 Hepatitis B and HIV

It is important that protection against Hepatitis B is available for all UQ Nominated First Aid Officers. Active immunity is reliably and safely produced by being vaccinated i.e. the person develops their own protective antibodies in response to the vaccine. Persons at risk such as those dealing with blood and human tissues, including first aid personnel, are recommended to be protected by vaccination (available at Health Service). For staff who are not immune to Hepatitis B, passive protection is available after an exposure to the hepatitis B virus (antibodies to hepatitis B are present in the product but are destroyed over time by the body). The product known as hepatitis B immune globulin should be administered to the non-immune person within 72 hours of exposure to the virus and is often combined with vaccination.

After a significant exposure to HIV infected blood or other body fluid and following meticulous wound care and cleaning, prompt consideration must be given to whether anti-viral medication should be taken. There is evidence that anti-viral medication taken in this situation may reduce risk of infection. Urgent advice should be obtained from the Health Service or an infectious disease specialist at a major hospital, as the medication needs to be started ideally within a few hours of the exposure.

17.2.1 Infected personnel

All first aid personnel who may be infectious have a responsibility to notify the relevant authorities of any infectious risk that they may present to injured or ill employees. Contact the Occupational Health Nurse Advisor at the OHS Division for confidential advice about the risk of transmission in the workplace. Advice is also available from the University Health Services.

Injured or ill employees have a responsibility to advise treating personnel of any known or possible communicable disease which could be transmitted in these circumstances. The individual's right to privacy and confidentiality must be respected.

17.3 Reasonable precautions

The following precautions should be implemented to avoid exposure to infectious pathogens and reduce the likelihood of infection transmission if exposure occurs:

  • Blood and other body substances - use appropriate barrier precautions (gloves) whenever exposure to blood, body fluids or moist body surfaces occurs.
  • Needles and syringes - Syringes, needles, scalpel blades and other sharp items are not necessary items to include in first aid kits. Splinters should be removed with disposable forceps rather than needles. Sharps which are being used in a workplace should always be disposed of in rigid-wall puncture-resistant containers according to PPL 2.60.10 Working Safely With Blood and Body Fluids. These containers should be located as close as practicable to the area where usage is occurring.
  • Linen and disposable items - all disposable items that are visibly soiled with potentially infectious material should be considered "clinical waste", identified as such and kept separate from other waste. Infectious linen should be transported in leakproof bags. Gloves and protective clothing should be worn when handling infectious linen. Workplaces that do not have clinical waste bins should contact Property and Facilities - Cleaning to make an urgent cleaning and waste disposal request.
  • Emergency resuscitation - there is no reason to withhold resuscitation from anyone but the decision of whether to use direct mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is an individual one for first aid personnel. A CPR face shield (single use, disposable) should be included in the first aid kit. Resuscitation bags and masks will be available in first aid kits in certain situations where the likelihood of administering CPR is high e.g. working as a security officer or where a special reason exists such as working with cyanide. These resuscitation devices should only be used by certified first aiders or health practitioners trained in their use. Facemasks equipped with one-way valves are usually unnecessary, require maintenance and are potentially dangerous to the casualty.
  • Good wound care - wounds should be cleaned thoroughly with clean running water or normal saline. A waterproof dressing should be applied after cleaning.

18. Funding for First Aid Kits

The purchase of first aid equipment, first aid kits and replenishment of its contents is a local responsibility and should be funded from the school/workplace finance budget.

19. Resource Documents

Director, Health, Safety and Wellness Mr Jim Carmichael
Director, Health, Safety and Wellness Mr Jim Carmichael