Employees in the oil & gas, exploration, construction and mining industries must often work in hazardous, remote and dangerous environments. In providing and meeting the requirements for duty of care, an employer needs to ensure that the project site is equipped to handle any medical rescues in the case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, injuries or disasters. Within this context, the duty of care refers to disaster preparedness, having the proper rescue and medical emergency equipment on-site and ensuring the medical personnel are trained and able to respond quickly to emergency and rescue situations. Below we unpack the importance of medical rescue preparedness and how this impacts employees and you as the employer.
The Importance of Medical Rescue in Disaster Preparedness and Response
Employees are often exposed to dangerous working environments within the industries mentioned above. What do these look like? For example, oil and gas works often work with hazardous chemicals and large machines, which can, if not handled correctly, cause severe injuries and sometimes even fatalities. On a construction site, employees have to be content with working from heights where the risk of falling is high, there is an increased chance of being struck by materials and equipment, and there are often electrical hazards that need to be navigated, all of which have various risks associated with performing the job required. Exploration and mine workers also often have to contend with physical labour, excessive heat underground, and exposure to multiple elements that could impact their respiratory function.
Over and above the hazardous environments mentioned above, there are sometimes disasters that require effective medical rescue. For example, if a scaffolding collapses, a gas leak occurs underground in the mine, an explosion on an oil rig. Within the remote locations of these project sites, access to medical and rescue services is often limited. This is why a project site needs to be fully equipped and have a medical disaster and emergency plan.
The Components Required to Ensure Efficient Medical and Rescue Preparedness and Response
The complexity of implementing efficient medical and rescue services within remote locations is a challenge for many employers, which is why it is necessary to have a complete healthcare management solution in place that will assist in putting risk mitigation plans and strategies together for medical and rescue response situations.
A complete healthcare management solution, like ATA International’s solution, will assist you in meeting the specific medical needs of your unique project site. This includes identifying the type of medical services, facilities, vehicles and aeromedical support, medical personnel, training and any other medical support services you may require and ensuring you meet your duty of care obligations. The essential components of this plan and strategy will include:
Medical Equipment for emergencies, which includes both capital and disposable equipment, such as:
o Resuscitation equipment
o Patient monitoring equipment
o Ventilation equipment
o Emergency and surgical supplies
o First aid supplies
o Auditing and calibration equipment
Rescue Equipment includes a range of equipment for various rescue scenarios, such as:
o Harness, rope, and web
o Anchor devices
o Systems and kits
o Patient care and transport
o Fire and rescue personal gear
o Auxiliary equipment
Effective Medical Training
In a disaster, time is of the essence, and delays in medical care can have severe consequences. This is why ensuring medical personnel are adequately trained in emergency and medical care and how to use life-saving equipment is vital.
With proper medical rescue preparedness, injured employees can receive medical care promptly, and their chances of survival can increase significantly. Additionally, medical rescue personnel can help identify and address any other hazards that may cause further injury or damage. With these capabilities readily available, organisations can reduce the impact of disasters, accidents or emergencies.
Emergency Air Evacuation Services
Reaching patients quickly in remote areas during an emergency or a disaster is critical to ensuring employees’ timeous access to specialist medical care. The work on these remote projects is often dangerous, challenging, and complex, especially where machinery and the harsh environment are concerned.
In the event of a severe or life-threatening medical emergency or disaster, employees must be transported quickly out of the location and transferred to a facility that offers specialised care. This sounds simple, however, the off-road conditions within certain remote locations make this nearly impossible. This is where the need for aeromedical services comes in.
Aeromedical helicopters provide a crucial lifeline for employees in remote locations, enabling them to access specialised treatment quickly.
Emergency Vehicle Services
Emergency vehicle services play a critical role in disaster and rescue medical response, particularly in remote and hazardous locations where access to medical care is limited and where patients must be transported.
These vehicles are equipped with essential medical equipment which can be lifesaving in the case of accidents, emergencies, injuries and illnesses. For emergency vehicles to be effective, they must be equipped with the right equipment and staffed with medical personnel with the training and experience required to handle the unique challenges of working in these remote locations.
The Implications of not being prepared for disasters and medical emergencies
When an employer has failed to meet their duty of care requirements and does not have an effective plan for disasters and medical emergencies, there will be significant consequences.
Without adequate medical and rescue services, including medical and rescue equipment, trained medical personnel, and remote clinic etc. Patients will receive delayed medical treatment. This could cause the patient to deteriorate significantly, and depending on the injury, the delay in getting medical treatment could be fatal.
Without the proper training and medical and rescue equipment, medical personnel cannot effectively handle emergencies, which could result in the patient not getting the best possible care. This could increase the risk of complications and permanent issues, which the organisation will be liable for.
Over and above this, having specific occupational health and medical emergency services in place is necessary for the employer to provide and honour their duty of care commitment. Not honouring this commitment and occupational health regulations has several legal implications. This can cost the business large sums of money in fines and pay-outs and affect its reputation, which can further impact the company and its operations.
The lack of disaster and medical emergency preparedness could also significantly affect operations as injuries, accidents, and emergencies result in a loss of productivity and uptime. If the injuries are severe, the employee will be booked off work, increasing absenteeism. It is, therefore, in an organisation’s best interest to plan and get a complete work healthcare management system in place, to minimise workforce injustices, incidents and emergencies and reduce costs.
Medical rescue preparedness and response are critical to ensuring that your employees receive the medical treatment required in the case of an emergency, disaster, accident or injury. It will also ensure that you, as an employer, can meet your duty of care requirements. Implementing a complete healthcare management system, like the one ATA International has created, is vital to this process. This specific solution will identify your unique remote project site’s particular rescue and emergency medical needs to ensure that your employees will receive fast, efficient and effective medical treatment. Contact us today for more information on how ATA International can help you meet your duty of care obligations.
Aidan Justus, Commercial Director, joined the ATA International Holdings team in March 2018 and has amassed 5 years of experience with the company. With a relentless drive for success, Aidan is responsible for developing and implementing strategic commercial initiatives, monitoring performance and building strong relationships with clients and stakeholders. In addition, Aidan actively supports and collaborates with senior management, leveraging his expertise and ambition to achieve organisational objectives. As a former sportsman turned ambitious businessman, Aidan Justus brings a unique blend of determination and business acumen to ATA International Holdings.