Workplace Medical Emergency Responders: An EMT License Is Not an Advanced First-Aid Card
- Cameron Helikson (Tosoh Quartz Inc.) | Scott Gunderson (Oregon OSHA)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- October 2015
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 32 - 38
- 2015. American Society of Safety Engineers
- 1 in the last 30 days
- 21 since 2007
- Show more detail
- Workplace emergency medical responders can operate under various levels of training, from basic first aid to emergency medical technician (EMT).
- Companies whose programs include EMTs must comply with several requirements, including licensing, registration and medical direction that are not required for programs with only basic first-aid responders.
- This article introduces these requirements and discusses the decision criteria and program development issues associated with a workplace emergency medical response program with EMTs.
No one saw the incident but everyone in the area heard the scream and the crashing sounds. Heads turned to see an employee on the factory floor, entangled in broken process piping. The fall arrest lanyard trailed away from him, limp and unattached. The investigation would have to determine whether the employee selected a poor anchor or simply failed to connect the lanyard before he fell, but right now the immediate issue was a serious medical emergency.
The first employee on scene, trained in basic first aid, directed others to call 9-1-1 and to activate the site medical response team. She verified no immediate hazards to herself, and approached the fallen employee as she pulled nitrile gloves from a belt pouch and put them on her hands. She touched his shoulder and asked if he could hear her. When he did not answer, she listened for breathing, which she heard and felt on her ear. She held his head to prevent further movement and possible spinal injury.
The second responder, a member of the site medical response team and a licensed emergency medical technician (EMT), arrived and asked the first responder what she knew about the incident and the injured employee. Also donning nitrile gloves, he checked the injured employee’s airway and pulse to verify breathing and circulation, then performed a rapid head-to-toe assessment, seeing no obvious bleeding or trauma.
Taking a first set of vital signs, he discovered normal blood pressure but elevated pulse and respiration rates, indicating potential onset of shock. Pulling a pulse oximeter from his response kit, he verified oxygen saturation at 92% and directed a third responder, also a licensed EMT, to place a nonrebreather mask attached to a portable oxygen tank on the injured employee’s mouth and nose.
The second responder paused to see that the first responder continued to properly hold the injured employee’s head, and asked to confirm that 9-1-1 had been called before performing a more detailed patient assessment. Using blunt-point trauma shears to cut away the fall protection harness and outer clothing, he reassessed for obvious bleeding and trauma. He saw some knee swelling and abrasions with minor bleeding, not a priority at this time. He also saw significant abdominal bruising indicating possible internal trauma that could only be treated in the hospital.
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