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First Aid in the Workplace

The newly revised First aid in the workplace compliance code 2021 (code) came into effect on 4th November 2021 in Victoria. It replaces the First aid in the workplace compliance code 2008 which is no longer in effect. The purpose of the new code is to provide practical guidance to employers on how to comply with their duties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS Act) and to provide an effective first aid response for the welfare of employees.

While the guidance provided in the code is not mandatory, a duty holder who complies with the code will – to the extent it deals with their duties or obligations under the OHS Act and OHS Regulations – be considered to have complied with those duties or obligations.

The code has been updated and is designed to:

  • be easy to read and use
  • align with the OHS Act
  • reflect modern work practices and the current state of knowledge
  • align with other updated compliance codes

Similar to the 2008 code, the code offers two options for compliance:

  • A prescribed approach that gives prescriptive guidance on complying with the OHS Act in relation to first aid facilities based on an organisation's size and risk level, including numbers of first aid officers and kits to be provided.
  • A risk assessment approach that guides employers through the process of determining their own first aid needs based on assessment of their workplace hazards and risks.

Key changes include:

  • Updates to information on consultation, consistent with other compliance codes;
  • Recommendations to consider adding asthma-relieving inhalers and epinephrine auto-injectors (Epipens) to first aid kits and to consider training for first aid officers to assist people experiencing a mental health crisis;
  • The 'employee awareness' section has been updated to ‘Information about information, instruction, training and supervision for all employees’ and now includes some general information consistent with other codes and additional information about the importance of employees being able to recognise their first aid officers;
  • Guidance on analgesics has been moved to the new section on first aid kits, rooms and equipment;
  • Information on immunisation has been moved into the sections on Options 1 and 2;
  • Revised checklists for applying first aid arrangements and reviewing first aid needs.

The new code can be downloaded from the WorkSafe website here https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/resources/compliance-code-first-aid-workplace




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