WSIB First Aid Regulations- Are They Enough?

WSIB First Aid Regulations- Are They Enough?

“Working safely may get old, but so do those who practice it” -Anonymous

In Ontario there are many laws to govern health and safety regulations in the workplace. Three main acts are the Canada Health and Safety Act, the Ontario Occupation Health and Safety Act and WSIB Regulation 1101.

We’re going to focus on WSIB Regulation 1101, specifically around their recommendations for first aid training.

Are these regulations enough to keep all workplaces safe? The last thing any workplace wants is an unfortunate incident to realize the minimum requirements are not enough for your facility.

WSIB is the Workplace Safety Insurance Board. This body provides workplace insurance for employers and employees. It provides compensation for workers who are injured or fall ill due to an incident while at work.

However, in order for workplaces to receive this compensation, they must follow specific standards regarding health and safety. These are the standards outlined in Regulation 1101.

WSIB Regulation 1101:

Here is a quick breakdown of the requirements outlined in Regulation 1101.

First Aid Training Requirements:

If the workplace has 1-5 workers on a shift, someone on each shift must be trained in Emergency First Aid (EFA).

If the workplace has 6+ workers on a shift, someone on each shift must be trained in Standard First Aid (SFA).

Kit Requirements:

1-5 workers per shift:

  • First Aid Manual
  • Safety pins
  • 12 adhesive dressings (Band-Aids)
  • 4 sterile gauze pads (3x3)
  • 2 gauze rolls (2”)
  • 2 field dressings or bandage compresses (4”)
  • 1 triangular bandage

Buy our express kit here- it is stocked with the above requirements and MORE!

5-15 workers per shift:

  • First aid manual
  • Safety pins
  • 24 adhesive dressings (Band-Aids)
  • 12 sterile gauze pads (3x3)
  • 4 gauze rolls (2”)
  • 4 gauze rolls (4”)
  • 4 sterile pressure dressings
  • 6 triangular bandages
  • 2 rolls of splint padding
  • 1 roll-up splint

By our small workplace kit here. It is stocked with the above supplies and MORE!

15-200 Workers per shift:

  • 1 stretcher
  • 2 blankets
  • First aid manual
  • 24 Safety pins
  • 1 basin (preferably stainless steel)
  • 48 adhesive dressings (Band-Aids)
  • 2 rolls of adhesive tape (1”)
  • 12 gauze rolls (1”)
  • 48 sterile gauze pads (3x3)
  • 8 gauze rolls (2”)
  • 8 gauze rolls (4”)
  • 6 sterile pressure dressings
  • 12 triangular bandages
  • Splints of assorted sizes
  • 2 rolls of splint padding

Buy our large workplace kit here… it comes with all the above supplies and MORE!

200+ Workers per shift (first aid room required):

  • First Aid Manual
  • Hot and cold running water
  • 3 washbasins (preferably stainless steel)
  • 1 instrument sterilizer
  • 1 cabinet for dressings
  • 1 enamel foot bath
  • 1 sanitary disposal receptacle with a lid
  • First Aid Box with supplies for 5-15 employees (see above)
  • 1 couch in a separate cubicle (or curtained off)
  • 1 stretcher
  • 2 blankets
  • Instruments:
    • Dressing scissors
    • Dressing forceps
    • Safety pins
    • Graduated medicine glass
    • Tongue depressors
    • Cotton tip applicators
  • Denatured ethyl alcohol
  • Dressings:
    • Adhesive dressings
    • Sterile gauze pads, assorted sizes
    • Gauze rolls, assorted sizes
    • Adhesive plaster
    • Absorbent cotton
    • Triangular bandages
    • Splints, assorted sizes
    • Splint padding

Contact us for help getting your first aid room stocked appropriately for your workplace!

Training Consideration One: Course Content and Daily Activities

Let’s first take a look at the first aid training requirements outlined in Regulation 1101.

The first thing that needs to be looked at is the content of the courses. The type of course taken should not only depend on the number of workers on each shift, but also the type of work the workers are doing.

The Emergency First Aid course for 1-5 workers includes steps to take in an emergency, choking, circulation emergencies, CPR/AED, breathing emergencies and a little bit of wound care.

The Standard First Aid course for 6+ workers also includes head, neck and spine injuries, bone, muscle and joint injuries, sudden medical emergencies, environmental emergencies and poisonings.

If workers are using a lot of chemicals at work, exposed to environmental elements, or work on ladders or at heights, then the Standard First Aid course content would be more beneficial, regardless of the number of workers on each shift.

Also, the general risk level of the daily activities of each worker should be taken into consideration. What types of activities are done by employees on a daily basis? How risky are they?

The last thing to consider is the type of, and how many clients or customers your workers interact with on a daily basis.

Does your business work with vulnerable populations? Or do your workers hardly ever interact with the public?

Businesses with public-facing employees should consider having them trained to not only keep your staff, but also your customers safe while at your facility.

Training Consideration Two: Facility Size and Layout

The training requirements outlined in Regulation 1101 require one worker on each shift to be trained in First Aid.

Another thing that this requirement lacks is considerations for various sizes and shapes of workplace facilities.

There may be facilities with a small number of workers per shift that work across a large area.

The time it may take the first aid trained person to get to another area where someone is injured should also be heavily considered.

If someone stops breathing, there is only 4-6 minutes before brain damage begins to set in. Could the first aid trained person get to the other side of the facility in 4-6 minutes if needed?

Another facility consideration is the number of levels and different rooms in the facility. How easy is it for workers to move through the facility? Are there locked doors or restricted access areas that would restrict first aid trained employees from getting to an incident quickly?

Also, how easy is it for a first aid trained employee to be notified of an emergency? If they are working in a different area, is there an easy system to alert them to the incident?

If the facility is large, with many levels, rooms and doors to move through, then it is best to treat each area of the facility as a separate workplace.

Instead of just getting one person trained per shift, consider training one person in each area of the workplace to keep your workers safety a top priority.

The last thing to consider about your facility is any offsite areas that are frequently visited and company vehicles.

Are there workers who are consistently in a company vehicle (deliveries, house calls etc.)? That vehicle should be treated as its own workplace as well.

If workers are consistently working offsite for different projects, each offsite should also be treated as its own workplace.

Best practice would be to make sure each vehicle and offsite has a first aid trained person available.

Training Consideration Three: Employees

There are also some employee considerations when it comes to first aid training and the WSIB regulations.

The regulation for one person to have SFA for 6+ workers is great for places that have 10-20 people on a shift, but not efficient for places with 100+ workers.

Can one person properly provide emergency care for that many people?

Especially if two incidents occur at once, or multiple employees get injured during an incident, having more than one first aid trained employee will be extremely beneficial.

You also need to consider the safety of the first aid trained individual.? You should also consider the possibility that it is the first aid trained employee who is involved in an incident. Is there someone else available and trained to help them in case of an emergency?

What if the only first aid trained employee calls in sick for a shift? Are you able to cover that first aid trained employee last minute?

Having more than one person trained per shift will help you ensure you always have at least one first aid trained employee available, helping with scheduling disasters!

Do you have any employees who work alone? Consider providing Emergency First Aid training to each employee who works alone.

This will increase the safety of each solo employee as the course includes preventative tips and self-help steps for emergencies.

The last employee consideration is for the individual employees you hire. Do you have employees with specific medical conditions that may affect them at work?

First Aid courses include care steps for asthma, anaphylaxis, diabetes, seizures and more!

When these illnesses begin to effect people, time is of the essence! Training workers in the direct vicinity of the employee with a medical condition will help keep all your employees safe, and prepared and comfortable to intervene when necessary.

Supply Consideration One: Daily Activities

Next, let’s take a more in depth look at the WSIB regulations for first aid kits and supplies. Are these supplies really enough? What else might you want to consider adding to your workplace kits?

Again, something to consider is the daily activities of your employees. Do you work in an office where people sit at a desk for most of the day? Or do you work in a general labour industry where workers are using heavy machines, chemicals or other more high-risk activities?

WSIB First Aid Supply regulations seem focused on bandaging, especially for the smaller kits. Having lots of bandaging available for bleeds is great! But what else might you want to have available for employees?

Some materials that are in the larger kits that you may want to consider for smaller kits as well are splints, blankets, disinfectant, and tape. 

Some alternate supplies you may want to include not mentioned by WSIB are cold compresses and tensor bandages.

Personal Protective Equipment, like gloves and CPR barrier devices are also not mentioned in the WSIB regulations.

These items ensure the safety of the first aid attendant as well as the injured/ill employees. They can also help trained employees feel more comfortable to respond to an incident as they feel they are adequately protected from disease transmission.

Another supply that is not required by WSIB but may be necessary in some workplaces is a tourniquet. If someone has an extreme bleed, or is in a position where the wound cannot be accessed (like caught in a machine), a tourniquet may save an employee’s life.

It is always best for workplaces to prepare for the worst. Remember Murphy’s Law: If something can go wrong it will. Better to be over-prepared than not prepared!

Click here to learn more about first aid kit refills and specific recommendations for first aid supplies for your workplace!  

Supply Consideration Two: Facility

Another thing to consider when it comes to first aid kits is the number of kits available at your facility, and the size of your facility. Some questions to ask are:

How long will it take to grab the kit from every part of your facility? If someone cuts their femoral artery (upper leg), they can bleed out in 3-5 minutes. Can someone grab the first aid kit in that time?

What types of high risk areas to do you have at your workplace? It is always good to place first aid kits in the highest-risk area(s) of the facility.

Is there more than one area that a first aid kit should be stationed to be accessed as quick as possible?

Supply Consideration Three: Employees

The last thing to consider with supply regulations is the number of employees you have.

As we all learned in elementary school… do you have enough for everyone? Make sure the number of supplies stocked in your kit is reflective of the number of employees you have.

 Also, it’s a good idea to track how often your first aid kit is getting used.

According to WSIB, the first aid kit only needs to be checked every 3 months.

Many workplaces like to have a WSIB-stocked kit that is sealed for easy quarterly inventory.

As long as the seal is still there, you know the WSIB-regulated supplies are still there. If the seal is broken, you know you need to re-stock something.

In these workplaces, there is then separate first aid kits available for employees to use on a more consistent basis that are also checked more often.

This also allows workplaces to customize the kits employees use more often to the supplies they use most often without worrying about remaining compliant.

Certification Considerations:

An additional consideration when it comes to WSIB First Aid Regulations is the 3-year certification period. Is every 3 years often enough?

If people don’t use a skill or require knowledge on a daily or weekly basis, it is easily forgotten.

We hope you don’t have incidents happening that often, so it is easy for your first aid trained employees to forget the life-saving knowledge and skills obtained in their course.

The new Canadian Red Cross blended learning program for first aid training is done partially through some online modules.

These modules are available to the participants for their entire certification duration. Consider having your first aid trained employees review this information periodically to keep it top of mind.

Another thing you might consider is adding a first aid refresher to your annual training with employees.

It does not need to be a complete course every year, just a summary and practice time of the main topics. You can also invite non first-aid trained employees to participate to spread the most important skills and knowledge to more employees, without needing to get everyone certified.

Things to consider covering annually are steps to take in an emergency, choking, CPR & AED, breathing and circulation emergencies and any other topics that apply specifically to your workplace.

We also offer first aid workshops that we can tailor to your workplace and employee’s needs. Contact us today to book an annual refresher for your first aid trained employees! We offer virtual and in-person options.

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