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First Aid Duty of Care: Knowing When to Step In

a woman calls the phone and steps in for first aid.

Picture this: you’re at a crowded event, and someone suddenly collapses in front of you. As a qualified first aider, you know what to do: check for breathing, call for help, and start administering first aid. But what if something goes wrong? Will you be held liable? When do you have a first aid duty to step in? These are valid concerns that many first aiders have.

The truth is, it’s not as scary as you may think. There are great legal protections for first aiders, but their are a few important things you’ll want to know. In this article, we’ll delve into the concept of duty of care in first aid and answer the question on every first aider’s mind: when should I step in? So grab a seat, and let’s explore the topic together.”

When Do I Have a Duty to Step In?

As a trained first aider, you might wonder when you have a duty to step in and provide assistance during an emergency. What you have to do depends on whether you’re at work, volunteering, or simply out in public.

At Work or Volunteering: Your First Aid Duty

two women follow their first aid duty of care in the workplace giving cpr to an injured man(ikin)

If you’re a qualified first aider at your workplace or a volunteer organization, congratulations! You’ve got the skills to be a life-saving superhero. And with great power comes great responsibility! So if there is an accident in your workplace, as a qualified first aider you’re expected to jump into action and provide necessary aid to the best of your ability.


Out in Public: Balancing Legal Obligations and Moral Responsibility

But now think back to our previous scenario, you are at a public event, and someone passes out in front of you. Do you have a duty of care to help them?

In most parts of Australia, there is no legal obligation to step in and provide assistance, with the exception of the Northern Territory, where it’s legally required to offer help to someone in need. (Note to self: Be extra prepared in the NT!)

Even though it’s not legally required in most places, no doubt you would be eager to help out anyway. The Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) recommends that qualified first aiders take action in emergencies, even if there is no legal obligation to do so. The ARC emphasizes that providing first aid is not only a morally responsible thing to do but can also be crucial in saving someone’s life.

But you might still wonder, can I be sued?

Concerns About Legal Liability: Can You Be Sued for Providing First Aid?

Before you hit the panic button and envision yourself in an episode of “Suits” or “The Good Wife,” take a deep breath! In Australia, you don’t need to worry about being sued while providing first aid, all thanks to Good Samaritan laws.

These laws act like a legal safety net, ensuring that you can focus on helping others without fearing a lawsuit. Because of them, No first aider has ever been successfully sued in Australia.

So, how can you make sure you’re covered by this protection?

  1. Act in good faith and don’t be reckless: We would make sure not to never purposely hurt someone we are treating. Don’t be stressed if you can’t do or remember everything from your first aid course, you are not expected to.
  2. Work within your skill level: Remember, you are a first aider, and not a character from the good doctor. Stick to your training and leave the complex medical procedures to the pros.
  3. Once you’ve committed, stick with it: If you’ve chosen to assist someone, you now have a duty of care to continue helping them. Stick with the situation until the ambulance arrives or a more experienced first aider takes over.

By following these guidelines, you can confidently provide first aid without worrying about legal consequences.

Empowered and Ready: Take the Next Step with Our First Aid Courses

Now that we’ve put your legal worries to rest, it’s time to turn that confidence into action. Take one of our comprehensive first aid courses. You’ll gain the knowledge and skills needed to make a real difference when it matters most.

Our first aid courses will help you act confidently in a wide variety of emergencies. We believe that everyone should have access to these essential skills, why not join today.

So don’t just sit on the sidelines. Join the world of first aid and make a positive impact on the lives of those around you! Become a capable first aider and get ready to lend a hand whenever the need arises. Together, we can create a safer and healthier community for all.