At Blackwoods, workplace safety is at the heart of everything we do. We work hard to ensure every one of our team members arrives at work safely in the morning and gets home in a safe condition at the end of the day. But workplace injuries are sometimes unavoidable.
Whilst we would like to avoid all injuries in the workplace, we do need to have a plan when they happen. Blackwoods would like to share our First Aid First initiative, which has made a big impact on our Return & Recovery at Work System, and how we support our injured workers.
Early intervention is key
In 2021, we conducted a review of our workplace injuries. Since our team carries out manual tasks daily, our most common forms of workplace injuries are sprains, strains, and soft tissue injuries to the back, shoulder, wrist and ankle. We know that these types of injuries can be successfully treated by our trained First Aiders we have at each of our locations. Through this program we found that our first responders only attend First Aid training every three years, and in some cases when they were faced with an actual incident, treatment strategies were not easy to recall.
We saw that a robust early intervention and recovery program within the workplace could have a positive impact on our team members and business, and could greatly reduce the need for visits to medical professionals. What was needed was an easily accessible program that regularly reinforced the basic principles of First Aid, and that offered clear and concise information at a critical moment.
By undertaking internal support training for our 170 First Aid officers, we have increased their confidence and ability to treat and monitor many soft tissue injuries in-house. This resulted in our team members not having to navigate the medical system and Workers Compensation.
First aid first tools
We empowered our First Aid team by looking at the top five workplace injuries and developing Injury Profiles for them. We branded them with the ‘First Aid First’ catchphrase, together with the Blackwoods logo, so they would be easily identifiable. Each profile covers a singular common injury type, and provides information on signs and symptoms, causes, recommended First Aid, dealing with pain, tips and suggestions, as well as expected recovery timeframes.
We then set up First Aid notice boards in our various locations, showcasing our First Aid officers onsite as well as the Injury Profiles, which we continuously expand on based on feedback from our team. To reinforce our commitment to early intervention, we deliver yearly internal frontline leader Injury Management training, so that leaders are also comfortable with our First Aid First approach and how they can support.
Our First Aid First community is also supported through quarterly newsletters and live learning events, hosted by internal and external experienced guest speakers. We’ve seen great results, as they give our staff an opportunity to discuss injury situations and to take them from merely a theoretical possibility in a textbook, to real-life experiences from longstanding First Aiders. Lastly, we’ve introduced lanyards with a 3-step quick reference guide to dealing with a workplace injury. Amanda Haddad, Head of Health, Safety and Wellbeing at Blackwoods said,
“Over the past two years, we’ve seen a notable improvement in our injured team members’ recovery rates and a decrease in Workers Compensation claims. “It is great to receive positive feedback from our injured team members, who’ve felt supported and cared for during their recovery. I am very proud of the confidence and momentum we have built within our First Aider community and what this program brings to our employee value proposition.
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