The Critical Role of a First Aid Officer in an Emergency

In compliance with the Work Health and safety (WHS) laws in Australia, it is mandatory for every workplace to have at least one first aid officer.  In small organisations or rather less dangerous workplaces, the role of a first aid officer is minimal; you may not even realise that that is their role unless there is an emergency. For workplaces that emergency prone such as the industries, the role of a first aid officer becomes more complicated.

who-is-the-first-aid-officer-in-australia  Who is a first aid officer in Australia?
In Australia, a first aid officer is a trained employee. Generally, accredited to the level of ‘Provide First Aid’. Capable of handling any emergency from the minor to the major emergencies.He/she should have Provide First Aid HLTAID001 training and (CPR) HLTAID001 level accreditation, and they are trained in various emergency response procedures including;

  Making sure a fractured limb is firm and supported.

+    Placing any victim in the recovery position.

+    Performing CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation).

+    Stopping any bleeding by use of elevation and pressure.

+    The use of an AED (Automated External Defibrillator).

+    After training, the first aid officer is ready to work in any organisation in Australia. In fact, today, the demand for first aid officers in Australia is high with the increase in emergencies annually.

+    Moreover, as a first aid officer, you have to comply with the First Aid training guidelines which expect you to attend CPR refresher training each year.

What are the roles of a first aid officer in case of an emergency?

Various types of’ emergencies occur each day in Australia. Such emergencies include;

  +    Food poisoning emergency.

  +    Fire explosion emergency.

  +      Natural disasters such as Earthquakes etc.


When they occur, there must be an Emergency Plan written down to guide in the recovery and response to the emergency. A first aid officer is among the key actors in the emergency plan. Their roles include;

Quickly and calmly assessing the emergency.

When an emergency occurs, it is the role of the first aid officer to quickly assess the situation by checking and rescuing those in danger from the scene.
The first aid officer also tries to determine the cause of the emergency and the affected population. This data helps the first aid officer in the rescue procedures to make sure no one is left behind. The first aid officer also makes sure everyone is safe from the risks and hazards that occur after an emergency.

  1. Providing professional first aid to victims of an emergency.

The first ad officer is trained to act on all manageable cases before a medical team arrives from performing CPR to placing the victim in the appropriate recovery position.

Every first aid officer must make sure they have a fully equipped first aid kit that is regularly checked and maintained.


  1. Preventing people from cross-contamination of infections.

During an emergency, everyone, including the first aid officer is at the risk of contracting infections through cross-contamination primarily through body fluids such as blood.

It is the role of the first aid officer to make sure that the victims of an emergency are placed in a safe way to avoid cross-contamination.

  1. Calling for the relevant assistance.

Particularly for emergencies that have left a lot of casualties. Furthermore, the first aid officer has to immediately call in the relevant expert team to help.  These could be from the Ambulance to the local police officers.

The above are some of the roles of a first aid officer during an emergency; however, before an emergency even occurs, the first aid officer had several other roles in an attempt to stay prepared for any emergency;

  •  Checking the first aid kid regularly: Some contents of an emergency kit expire. For this reason, the first aid officer must regularly check all the items are up to date, dispose the expire items and replace them with fresh items. This is to make sure when there is an emergency; the first aid kit is complete.
  •  Provide help to the WHS officer: In a case where there is a first aid officer and WHS officer. The first aid officer helps the WHS officer to carry out the quarterly inspection in the workplace
  •  Training other staff: It is the role of a first aid officer to prepare all the staff on how to respond effectively. Offer first aid in case of an emergency to avoid full reliance on the first aid officer.
  •  Help in the drafting of an emergency plan: The first aid officer is among the people who are supposed to be present in the formulation of an emergency plan for the organisation.

In conclusion, a first aid officer is simply an important person when it comes to responding to any type of emergency. We all know that emergencies happen every day in the workplace. They are trained to save a life with the minor but crucial medical practices.


By Ken Walker

Hi, I'm Ken. I am the owner and senior director of Syncretic training Group Pty Ltd. If you have any questions about the website content or require guidance please let us know we are always happy to help.

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