The winter months lead to darker mornings and evenings, wet, slippery floors and ice and snow on path ways, which can all increase the risk of accidents. In 2016/17, 29% of non-fatal injuries to employees were caused by slips, trips and falls.
Make sure you and your team are prepared for a winter workplace accident, by keeping your first aid skills up to date.
Sprains and strains
If your colleague slips and falls they could twist their ankle or wrist or overstretch a muscle.
What are the symptoms of a sprain or strain? If someone has pain, swelling or bruising around a joint or muscle after a sudden movement to part of their body, they may have a sprain or strain.
How to help someone with a sprain or strain:
- Get the person to rest.
- Apply an ice pack to the injury.
- If there is no improvement, seek medical advice.
If someone falls and lands in an awkward position, they may have a broken bone.
What are the symptoms of a broken bone? Someone who has a broken bone may have pain, swelling and bruising and difficulty moving the injured limb.
How to help someone with a broken bone:
- Encourage the person to support the injury with their hand, or use a cushion or items of clothing to prevent unnecessary movement.
- Call 999 as soon as possible or get someone else to do it.
- Continue supporting the injury until help arrives.
If someone falls from a height, they may have a headache, a bump on their head and have a pale complexion.
How to help someone with a head injury
- Ask them to rest and apply something cold to the injury – for example, frozen vegetables wrapped in a tea towel.
- Call 999 if they become drowsy, vomit or their condition gets worse.
Asthma attacks can often be triggered by the colder weather.
What happens when someone has an asthma attack? When someone has an asthma attack, the muscles in the airways narrow, making it difficult for them to breathe.
How to help someone who is having an asthma attack
- Help the person sit in a comfortable position and take their medication.
- Reassure the person. If the attack becomes severe or they don’t have their medication, call 999 as soon as possible.
Many people choose to warm up during cold weather with hot drinks, increasing the risk of burns and scalds.
How to help someone who has a burn
1. Cool the burn under cold running water for at least ten minutes.
2. After the burn has been cooled, cover it with cling film or a clean plastic bag.
Share this article with your workplace colleagues and for more information download this handy Red Cross first aid pack.