Lesson 2.3 – Infection Control

A disease that can be transmitted from person to person is caused by microscopic agents.  First Aiders are less likely to contract infectious diseases if they use standard precautions for every casualty.

If a needle stick occurs, wash the area with soap and water as soon as possible, apply a sterile dressing and see your GP or hospital as soon as practical.

A disease may be passed to First Aiders by contact with:

  • Droplets
  • Blood/other body fluids
  • Infected needles/sharp objects

Practices which help to control the spread of infection include

  • Washing/drying hands before and following patient contact
  • Wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Gloves
  • Face mask and/or shield
  • Goggles/safety glasses
  • Appropriate disposal of sharps/clinical waste

Lesson 2.4 – Standard Precautions

The first thing that anyone providing first aid should be aware of when entering a situation is the potential for danger to themselves. This is especially important in first aid, as situations which have been dangerous to others carry an inherent risk of danger to those providing first aid.  First Aiders are less likely to contract infectious diseases if they use standard precautions when attending a casualty.


The main tool of the first aider to avoid this risk is a pair of impermeable gloves.  Gloves protect the key contact point with the victim (i.e. the hands) and allow you to work in increased safety.  They protect not only from bodily fluids and faeces but from any dermatological infections or parasites that the victim may have.

Safety Glasses/Face Mask/Shield

Prevents spurting or pooled fluid which could come in contact with your face.

Sharps Container

These items that can puncture your skin are called ‘sharps’. Used sharps should be put in a strong container that cannot pierce. You must be able to seal the container. This means no one can be hurt by the used sharp. 

Protective Personal Equipment (PPE)

PPE will protect the user against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. It also includes respiratory protective equipment.

Lesson 2.2 – Principles of First Aid

The principles of first aid are reflected in the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) guidelines and refer to: 

  • First aid management of injuries
  • The basic life support system “DRSABCD”
  • First aid training requirements

The four aspects of the Principles of First Aid are:

Lesson 2.1 – Hazards

A hazard is an object or situation that causes injury, harm or damage.  Can you see, smell or hear anything that could cause damage?  Talk to other people on the scene about any hazards that they might have found.

The three concepts behind a risk assessment in an emergency situation are:

  • Risk assessed before, during and after providing first aid
  • Weighing up the benefits of going ahead with first aid against risks that could be involved
  • Think before you act, rather than act before you think

In order to identify hazards, you should check:

  • up high – overhead hazards, weather conditions
  • at eye-level – traffic, people, fire, smoke, gas
  • down below – wires, sharp objects
  • other specific hazards – bystanders, bodily fluids, drugs

If you find a hazard, you need to conduct a risk assessment.  Ask yourself:  What is the chance that the hazard will hurt someone or cause damage?  If it does, how bad will the injury or damage be?

Identified hazards need to be controlled, which can be done by:

  • Using personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Isolating the casualty from the hazard (asking bystanders to make space/leave the scene)

Lesson 1.6 – Manual Handling

You may need to move a casualty because of hazards in the environment or restrictions in assessing the casualty for proper treatment. As a general rule, to avoid injuring yourself, you should always bend your knees and not your back when lifting.

Understand your own limitations and strengths and where possible get somebody to help you to move the casualty.

There are various emergency moves you can use if there is nobody available to assist you.

  • Ankle Drag
  • Arm Drag
  • Clothes Drag
  • Blanket Drag

Lesson 1.5 – Duty of Care

As an identified or workplace first aider, you owe a duty of care to apply first aid knowledge and skills to the level of your training.

Once first aid has started, you are under a legal obligation to continue to provide care until:

  • Vital signs return
  • If danger returns
  • Paramedic assistance arrives and takes over
  • Exhaustion makes it impossible to continue

Lesson 1.4 – Consent

Australian law is built on the basis that everyone has the right to have control over his or her own body.  If you decide to proceed with first aid, you must seek and make every attempt to gain consent from the casualty, and if requested, cease treatment.

With a child, under the age of sixteen (16), seek consent from the parent or guardian. Casualties between 16-18 must understand if the situation is life threatening.

It is always best to ask the casualty (if they are well enough to respond) if they are comfortable with receiving assistance.  Depending on their level of consciousness, they may respond with hand gestures, body language or verbal. If the casualty is unconscious and is not responding to your questions, you should proceed with first aid.

To reassure the casualty you should:

  • Make a personal introduction
  • Show empathy
  • Maintain constant communication with the casualty
  • Adopt a caring voice tone and volume
  • Offer reassurance in a culturally appropriate manner

Lesson 1.3 – Skills and Limitations

As a first aider, you are not expected to be an expert, so you need to be aware of your own personal limitations which can include:

ANZCOR guidelines are based on internationally recognised practices. When providing first aid, First Aiders must only provide assistance within the limit of their skills and training.

Lesson 1.2 – Australia and New Zealand Resuscitation Council (ANZCOR)

ANZCOR provides guidelines for uniformity and standardisation of resuscitation and first aid practices in Australia to teach at any level. The Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) recommends that cardiopulmonary resuscitation skills be updated and assessed annually (every 12 months).

Lesson 1.1 – First Aid Emergencies

A first aid emergency is a situation where there is an immediate risk to health and life and urgent action is required. You should know and look for signs of possible emergencies. Use all your senses to help identify an emergency, such as:

  • Behaviours
  • Noises
  • Sights
  • Smells