Welding Safety & Standards / Compliance Information
Are you meeting your legal and moral obligations to ensure your employees have access to prompt medical attention either by first aid or full medical treatment? The OSHA medical services and first aid requirements for general industry are covered in 29 CFR 1901.151. The standard 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.”
The standard is somewhat ambiguous as it fails to define such words as “near proximity” or “adequately trained.” For example, under certain circumstances, the standard requires first aid training, but it does not specify what constitutes “adequate training.” Industry has asked OSHA for clarification of these words along with other requests for clarification of this standard. OSHA has responded to these requests with several letters of interpretations that should help us better understand what is required.
The size of the company or the type of work performed by its employees has no bearing on the applicability of this standard. There are no exemptions for first aid protection due to a company’s size, and all industries are required to comply with the standard regardless of the type of work performed by employees. However, the hazards and related first aid/medical services required would be less for an office, for example, than they would be for a cylinder fill plant.
Your first aid program must correspond to the hazards that can be reasonably expected to occur in the workplace. You must evaluate the potential work-related hazards and provide for first aid accordingly. In making these determinations, you should consider the work process that could cause illness or injury to employees; the type of accidents that have occurred in the past, as well as those likely to be encountered in the future; and whether employees are exposed to falls, hazardous machinery or harmful chemicals.
When first aid treatment or professional medical care cannot be administered to injured employees by outside professionals within a three- to four-minute response time for serious accidents resulting in such things as suffocation, severe bleeding, or other life-threatening or permanently disabling injury or illness, a person or persons within the facility must be adequately trained to render first aid. In other circumstances, such as in an office environment where employees perform administrative duties and where a life-threatening or permanently disabling injury is an unlikely outcome of an accident, a longer response time, such as 15 minutes, is acceptable.
OSHA does not teach first aid courses or certify first aid training courses for instructors or trainees. First aid courses need to be individualized to meet the needs of the workplace, and it is the responsibility of the employer to coordinate this effort with the organization that will be conducting the training. The American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, the National Safety Council and other nationally recognized and private educational organizations offer first aid training.
Appendix A to §1910.151 First Aid Kits (Non-Mandatory) refers to ANSI Z308.1-2009 “Minimum Requirements for Workplace First Aid Kits.” This ANSI standard was updated in 2009, but as yet is not referenced in Appendix A. The 2009 ANSI standard provides detailed information regarding the requirements and recommendations for first aid kits. Complying with this latest ANSI update should meet the requirements of providing adequate first aid supplies. OSHA often refers employers to ANSI Z308.1 as a source of guidance for the minimum requirements for first aid kits. Source: http://www.weldingandgasestoday.org