The wisdom to know the difference

Jul 15, 2016
Steve Jordan, MD of Milton Keynes-based copywriters The Words Workshop, has just completed a First Aid at Work refresher course. Here he gives his views on backside covering, and that's not a first aid technique!

I have just returned from my three-yearly First Aid at Work refresher course with St John Ambulance.  If anyone in the organisation feels the need to have a funny turn, now’s a perfect time.  I have been the designated first aider for The Words Workshop for nine years now and have found it very useful, both at work and privately.  It’s quite comforting for me to know what I would do in an emergency and, I suspect, other members of staff feel reassured that there is some basic knowledge in the building should something nasty happen.  Indeed last year I had a number of occasions when I had to spring into life, super-hero style, to help someone in distress, not least a poor lad in a pub who had been ‘glassed’ in the eye by someone with even greater personal problems.  Now that one was tricky, but he was OK and, I subsequently learned, very appreciative of my intervention.

There is a problem for me though.  I am a practical person: not particularly good at following rules, especially when they are obviously crazy.  The course was designed for a work environment and, therefore, a proportion of it is about backside covering.  No that’s not a first aid technique, just various ways of protecting the company against prosecution should a well-meaning first aider get something a bit wrong.  For me that spoiled the course.  If someone is ill or in distress my only concern is making them happy and well again.  Anything else is an unnecessary distraction.  For example: if someone is having an asthma attack I may encourage them to use their inhaler.  If they have left it at home, and someone else in the building has an identical one, I must not let them use it!  I suppose the best course of action, therefore, is to watch calmly as they turn blue and expire.  The company would be safe from prosecution but I think I would have a little explaining to do to comfort their grieving family. Sorry chaps, if someone needs an inhaler in my office and there’s one available, they are getting it.  I’m happy to defend myself in court.

That element of our society is, in my opinion, destructive. It flies in the face of common sense.  I have never subscribed to it and don’t intend to start now, however much tut-tutting I have to endure.

That said, the rest of the course is excellent and the people from St John are knowledgeable, competent, engaging and very caring. The next time you are at a public event and they are in attendance, I believe you can have absolute confidence in them. In fact I might just volunteer to help.  I would encourage everyone to go along to a St John course whether or not it’s a requirement at work – you never know when it’s going to kick off in the snug.  But the script that is between the lines is as important as the published narrative.

Steve Jordan
Managing Director

Steve Jordan, Managing Director, The Words Workshop