Question: What is OSHA’s current interpretation of the response times for first aid in response to life-threatening bleeding, including active shooter incidents?
Answer: OSHA’s current interpretations of the response times for first aid in response to life-threatening bleeding are addressed in letters of interpretation. These letters state in part:
In workplaces where serious accidents such as those involving falls, suffocation, electrocution, or amputation are possible, emergency medical services must be available within 3-4 minutes, if there is no employee on the site who is trained to render first aid…While the standards do not prescribe a number of minutes, OSHA has long interpreted the term “near proximity” to mean that emergency care must be available within no more than 3-4 minutes from the workplace, an interpretation that has been upheld by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and by federal courts…The basic purpose of these [first aid] standards is to assure that adequate first aid is available in the critical minutes between the occurrence of an injury and the availability of physician or hospital care for the injured employee… Medical literature establishes that, for serious injuries such as those involving stopped breathing, cardiac arrest, or uncontrolled bleeding, first aid treatment must be provided within the first few minutes to avoid permanent medical impairment or death…
These time limits are maximums. OSHA does not prohibit but encourages shorter response times when feasible. In order for OSHA standards to more comprehensively address response times to uncontrolled bleeding, it would entail a notice of proposed rulemaking and comment effort.
These recommendations are consistent with the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Standard 1710, Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments. This standard requires that emergency medical services ideally respond within one minute of turnout, that first responders take 4 minutes to get to the scene, and that other units should arrive within 8 minutes.
*Provided by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.