How to Handle Workplace Emergencies: Burns

With Australia’s rich forestry and the current unpredictability of the weather, properties are at equal risks of falling victims to bushfires and other fire-related emergencies.

As a business, not only can you suffer from great amounts of damages but can also put a lot of lives on the line.

Is Your Workplace OH&S Compliant?

It is vital to ensure that your place of business follows safety protocols and guidelines before engaging in production and business transactions. Ensuring that your workplace has enough emergency exits and easy access to fire extinguishers can draw the line between life and death for the people inside the property.

Comprehensive Survival Plan

One of the best things you can do for your employees and business is to come up with a survival plan. Employees should be educated on how they can vacate the premises without causing panic. They should know how to properly handle any emergencies while waiting for the proper responders on site.

A comprehensive survival plan must indicate clear and easy-to-follow instructions on how to get as many people away from the danger zone in the least amount of time. It should teach them how crucial it is to remain calm as they try to get away from the area.

It is also crucial that all employees know what safety precautions and first aid steps to take in case a co-worker becomes alight.

What You Should Know about Burns 

1. The brevity of the burn determines its classification.

     Burns are classified into three (3) levels:

  • First Degree Burn - a minor burn that exhibits redness and pain

  • Second Degree Burn - a region that shows minor charring and sore exposed regions.

  • Third Degree Burn – a burnt region that exhibits charring and numbness.

2. Handle a victim of air way burn with extreme caution.

Someone who falls victim to airway burns has charred lips and is experiencing difficulties in breathing. Treat this patient with utmost care and if possible, get them medical attention ASAP.

Signs and symptoms of airway burn:

  • burned lips, charred mouth
  • burns on the head, face, or neck
  • change in voice coughing
  • dark, carbon-stained mucus
  • singed nose hairs or eyebrows
  • ulcers on the lips or throat
  • difficulty breathing or wheezing

How to Apply First Aid to Burns?

Equipped with the above indicators, you can now proceed to educate your employees on how to apply first aid to victims of burns. Below are the steps to take while awaiting for proper medical attention:

1. Survey the surrounding and remove the patient from danger.

Before attempting to remove the patient from the site of the accident, make a quick survey of the environment and plan your moves wisely. Move him or her away from anything that can catch flame.

2. Roll the victim to the ground if he or she is currently aflame.

Make sure the surface is free from anything that can catch fire and roll the victim until he is no longer alight.

3. Run the burnt region in cold running water.

If the patient is suffering from 1st to 2nd-degree burn and can easily be brought to a nearby faucet, it is safe to run the affected area on cold water. Hold it for 20 minutes. If the patient is suffering from a 3rd-degree burn, DO NOT ATTEMPT to move him in any way.

4. Do not remove any pieces of clothing that is clinging to the skin.

Doing so can further damage the affected area and may expose the victim to infection.

5. Cover the region with a sterile dressing.

Once the affected area is slightly soothed by irrigation, you can now dress it with a sterile medical-grade gauze. If this is not available, you can opt for a clean, smooth cloth or cling wrap.

6. IF THE PATIENT IS HEAVILY CHARRED, DO NOT MOVE HIM OR HER.

If the patient is immovable and is experiencing great pain with the slightest of touch, the best thing an initial responder can do is look after the victim and contact a medical personnel right away.

7. Contact a medical responder.

After controlling the situation (for 1st-degree to 2nd-degree cases), make sure to contact a medical responder right away so they can be brought to the burnt unit of any medical facility. This is necessary for identifying the damage and applying appropriate treatment after first aid has been done.

First Aid Kit Rental Services

How much your employees know about fire safety and first aid can determine how many lives you save during such occurrences. An ill-equipped workplace can suffer insurmountable amounts of damages and may even cause fatalities.

Alsco First Aid offers a comprehensive First Aid Kit rental service. They make sure that a workplace is fully stocked with all the necessary medical-grade supplies to respond to every type of emergency.

Alsco performs safety-auditing onsite, no obligations necessary. For more First Aid How-to’s, check on Alsco’s First Aid Resources section.

Workplace Fire Escape Plan

Is your workplace is at a high risk for fire emergencies?  Identifying what puts you at high risk allows you to realign your current safety measures to industry standards. This can ensure that you are not putting your people and your business at risk.

Here are some guide questions for your fire escape plan:

Is your workplace a low, mid or high-rise building?

The number of fire exits should depend on how many stories a building has. No more than four stories is classified as a low-rise building and can have just one fire exit.

Is your place of business accessible to emergency vehicles?

Perform an ocular inspection and see if there is anything that could potentially hinder an emergency vehicle from entering your premises.

Do you meet the exit requirements?

The number of exits per building should depend on its classification. Check if your business has the right number of fire exits according to your category.

Do you have enough fire extinguishers?

The Fire Safety Code dictates that the number of fire exits would depend on the size of a particular property. Have professionals perform onsite safety auditing for you in order to identify the right number of fire extinguishers for your workplace.

Are your staircases fire-resistant?

According to industry standards, staircases must remain fire-resistant for at least two (2) hours. Ensure that the material used in construction can withstand such emergencies.

Do you have strategically placed sprinklers?

Double-check whether your place of business has sprinklers placed all throughout. These sprinklers should be maintained on a regular basis to ensure their functionality during a time of need.

Do you have a comprehensive escape and floor plan?

All places of business must have a comprehensive and easy-to-follow floor and escape plan that are represented in diagrams. Place these reminders all throughout the premises and make sure that all employees know them by heart.

Ensuring that your workplace follows building standards can save the lives of your employees. Make sure they are equipped with the necessary first aid knowledge when the unexpected happens.


For Fire and Evacuation training services, contact our experts now!

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