When someone is injured at work, it is easy to make a mistake when administering first aid. The panic and haste of rushing to take care of an injured co-worker or even yourself could lead to errors and mistakes. Sometimes, people administer first aid based on myths they learned from home. No matter how minor an injury is, first aid mistakes could have devastating effects. Below are common first aid mistakes we should all avoid.
1. Putting ice or butter on a burn
This is a traditional remedy that has been passed down from generations. If you apply butter on a burn immediately, the butter forms a protective layer. This could trap heat on your skin, making the burn worse. Placing ice on the burn is also not advisable. The ice could freeze the skin, making it too cold.
After a burn, the main objective should be to return the skin to normal body temperature. Instead of using ice and butter, run some cool water on the burnt area for a few minutes, then cover it with a clean and dry dressing and seek medical attention.
2. Moving an injured person
If someone is injured on a construction site, don’t attempt to move them until you determine the injury’s severity. If an object fell on their back or they slipped and fell from higher ground, they could have suffered a serious brain injury or a spinal cord injury. Moving the person will only make the injury worse and could result in paralysis or permanent neurological impairment.
However, if there is impending danger such as an explosion, a collapsing building, or a fire, it is advisable to move the person. If you suspect that you are dealing with a spinal cord injury or a brain injury, call 911 immediately. Trained EMTs are better-equipped and experienced to handle this kind of injury.
3. Cleaning a cut with saliva
Most people believe that saliva can sterilize a wound; this is not true. The mouth contains a lot of harmful bacteria that may lead to wound infection instead. Don’t try to clean your wound with stagnant water around the construction site. Rinse off the blood with sterile saline or running tap water.
4. Putting heat on a fractured or sprained ankle
When working on a construction site, bone fractures and sprained ankles are common. Some people think that putting heat on the injured bone will alleviate the pain. The warmth will boost the flow of blood and make the swelling even worse. Heat should be saved for other emergencies such as back spasms.
Instead, what you should do is place an ice pack on the injured area and leave it for about 20 minutes. This will reduce the swelling and alleviate the pain.
5. Rubbing your eyes to remove debris
An injured eye is not only painful, but it’s also irritating. If debris gets into your eye, rubbing it and trying to remove the particles could make the eye worse, leading to permanent eye damage and, in severe cases, blindness.
If chemicals splash into the eye, try to rinse it off with clean running water for 10-15 minutes. Eyes are very delicate. If you experience an eye injury, secure the eye with an eye cover, and immediately seek medical attention.
6. Treating a burn for a short period of time
Pouring water on the burnt skin for a few seconds is not enough to soothe it. You have to do it continuously for over 20 minutes. Sometimes, the heat that caused the burn can travel deeper into the body and cause more tissue damage. Cooling it for 20 minutes will ensure that no extra damage is sustained due to the burn.
What to Do When Injured at a Construction Site
There are many potential dangers for construction site workers that could result in serious injuries. Most accidents occur due to negligence, while others are caused by the worker’s failure to follow the rules and act responsibly.
After an accident, ensure that you seek medical attention and report the accident to the company. If the accident was due to negligence, you could call a worker’s compensation lawyer for a free case review. The attorney can help you file a claim for compensation of lost wages and injuries while you focus on getting better.