In an emergency situation, some people may be reluctant to put their first aid skills into practice due to concerns relating to legal issues and fear of being sued.

The 4 main basic legal issues of first aid are:

Duty of care: In general, community first aiders need not fear legal litigation if care is made in good faith, and they try to avoid further harm using actions that are not reckless and within their skills and limitations.

Workplace first aiders must act within the scope of their activity of their organisation and according to instruction of the organisation. They must also must perform their tasks to the standard expected of a reasonable competent person.

 

Negligence: Not fulfilling, or breaking a duty of care could leave the first aider open to questions of negligence. Although unlikely to be sued as a first aider, it is important you confine your activities to your level of training and do not carry out any medical procedures that you have not been trained in.  

 

Consent: If the patient is awake, you must gain consent from them before treatment; if they are unconscious you may proceed with care, as consent is considered to be implied. For persons under 18, consent should be obtained from parents/guardians where possible.

 

Recording: Whether providing first aid in the community or the workplace you will be required to provide details of the incident. This might be to a supervisor, parent or carer, ambulance officer, medical professional or someone else. It is good practice to take notes during or soon after providing first aid. Workplace first aid officers will be required to record the first aid incident, and any care or treatment administered on the relevant workplace form.

 

The first aider has nothing to fear if he or she acts reasonably, with caution, and follows recommended first aid principles.

The legal and social responsibilities of first aiders is one of the topics that forms part of the Provide First Aid (HLTAID003) courses provided by Allens Training on the Sunshine Coast.

First aid and CPR courses can be booked by visiting our website and booking online, or by calling our Sunshine Coast office on 5438 8888.

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