The Red Cross launched Safe hands in 2005 when it realised that, although the majority of UK businesses complied with first aid regulations by appointing and training first aiders, over time many people lost confidence in the practical skills they had learnt.
To combat this the Red Cross developed a website specifically for their delegates which gives them access to first aid scenarios, videos of key techniques, and quizzes. The site enables members to keep their knowledge up to date in between scheduled training sessions from the comfort of their desk. Since its launch the program has been a runaway success. Among the most popular features are the monthly newsletters and the ability to contact the Safe hands team directly with any first aid related queries. Each of these enquiries is passed on to a Red Cross first aid expert to provide a response, meaning that members can refresh their memory about topics covered during training or ask questions that they may have not have wanted to ask in front of a group.
Anna Brown, Sales and Marketing manager for Red Cross First Aid Training explains, "When an incident occurs it is unlikely that there will be time to check notes. More so than in any other type of learning, the answers must be at the front of the first aiders mind when they are called upon to put them into practice. Although recall of our training is very good, we recognise that a degree of "learning decay" is inevitable and increases over time."
She continues, "We are proud to be the only first aid training provider to offer access to such a unique scheme. Delegates from our courses are able to instantly access information and advice. While we recognise that in the heat of the moment they are unlikely to be able to refer to this resource, we believe the fact they can access Safe hands at any time will help to combat skills fade by keeping their knowledge fresh."
The regulatory body for first aid training within the workplace, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), has also come to recognise that problems are caused by knowledge fading over time. In October 2009 the HSE will update their guidance on first aid at work training to bring it more in line with the needs of modern business. This will include a strong recommendation for trainees to attend an annual skills update session to ensure that they remain confident and prepared to deal with an illness or injury.
The Red Cross has been providing first aid training for the workplace for over twenty-six years and offers a range of courses to help companies meet their health and safety obligations. Delegates on all Red Cross courses are offered the chance to enhance their learning experience by becoming a member of the Safe hands programme.
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