Put safety first, says national training provider

shutterstock_354355670Training manager Fay Gibbin at Busy Bees Training offers her views on the importance of basic paediatric first aid training for employees in the retail sector that regularly come into contact with children in the workplace.

Many retail businesses rely on custom from families and children as a main source of revenue. As anyone who works with children can tell you, they are inquisitive souls, and require 24-hour surveillance and round-the-clock attention. Although parents are usually the responsible party and Health & Safety Executive (HSE) regulations do not place any legal duty on retailers to make first-aid provision for non-employees such as the public or children, it could be argued that any business owner has a duty of care to any persons on their premises.

However, despite this, many workers in the industry are not actually subject to any form of paediatric first aid training and there are no current regulations that say organisations should ensure their staff do so.

Although not all retailers operate a business where staff regularly come into contact with children, there is a distinct difference between adult first aid and paediatric first aid which needs to be understood. Implementing both forms of training could not only help save a life in the workplace but also at home. To put this into context; figures from St. John’s Ambulance show that 140,000 lives are lost each year that could have been saved by basic first aid training.

First and foremost, responsible retailers must consider providing paediatric first training to staff as it certainly pays to not only take care of staff but also your customers and of course, your reputation. Should an incident take place on your premises with no one on the scene equipped to deal with the situation, the potential consequences are unimaginable. Waiting for the emergency services to arrive is insufficient, as the first few minutes of an emergency is often the most critical period and is the point when a child’s life could be saved. For example, if a child becomes unconscious, a simple tilt of the head can help to prevent them from choking and blocking their airway.

Most team leaders or senior staff in the retail sector will have received some sort of first aid training as part of their induction. However, outside of the childcare sector, many do not have the necessary skills required to deal with an emergency involving a child. We identified this gap in skills whilst delivering First Aid Training to external companies, which promoted us to launch ‘Child Safety First’ this year, in partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities. We are on a mission to raise awareness of the importance of Paediatric First Aid training for anyone that may be around children under 5, whether that is an employee, a parent in the home or a childcare professional in a nursery setting.

For many business leaders in the retail sector, it’s important to plan ahead for the potential accidents that might occur in the workplace, and this should look beyond accidents only involving adults or employees. Health and safety measures are about providing adequate provision and mitigating risk, so having one or several members of staff sufficiently trained in paediatric first aid could not only help save a child’s life, but will also position that brand as a responsible and credible one. There will always be the threat of illness or accidents, but if employers can put in the provisions to ensure that the workforce is adequately prepared to deal with those emergencies then, as a nation, we can start to put children’s safety first.