Are you prepared for a medical emergency in your business? What would you do if a staff member or customer suddenly collapsed?

Workplace health and safety regulations require every business to have a first aid kit and a procedure for handling medical emergencies. Depending on the size and type of business, you may be required to have a first aid officer on the premises.


The links below will give you help with creating a plan and working out the first aid requirements for your business. There may be slight variations to the requirements according to where you are located in Australia. Make sure you check the correct State or Territory to access current information.

Safe Work Australia (PDF)Australian Red CrossACT (PDF)NSWNTQldSATasVicWA


AED or Automated External Defibrillators are a common feature in many retail centres. They have the potential to save lives if used correctly and as they are highly automated, no medical knowledge is needed. However, in spite of the machines capacity to guide the user through the procedure, there is a lack of confidence among many retailers, that they would be using it correctly. Many people would be reluctant to even attempt to use one without having at least seen it demonstrated.

The video at the link below, demonstrates how to use an AED. Although brands vary, the procedure is pretty much the same. By showing this to your team, you may be giving them the confidence to attempt to save someone’s life.


Step Letter Representing What to do
1 D Danger Ensure that the patient and all people in the area are safe from any further harm
2 R Response Look for a response from the patient – ask their name, squeeze their shoulders
3 S Send for help If there is no response, phone Triple Zero (000) or ask another person to call and ask for the Ambulance. When connected with the local Ambulance Operator, they will give you instructions on what to do to help the injured person
4 A Airway Open mouth – if foreign material is present, place in the recovery position and clear airway with fingers. Open airway by tilting head with chin lift
5 B Breathing Check for breathing: look, listen, feel
6 C CPR If not normal breathing, start CPR, 30 chest compression’s (100 per min) :2 breaths. Continue CPR until help arrives or patient recovers
7 D Defibrillation If there is no heartbeat, turn on a defibrillator if available and follow the verbal prompts

The DRSABCD action plan is a useful tool in first aid. But you will manage it even better if you have training in how to perform each action correctly.


The Australian Resuscitation Council has produced Flowcharts which can be used as published with no alterations by any business.


Businesses are generally required to keep a record of any first aid treatment given in the workplace. An incident/accident report may also be required as a record of the event. Serious incidents or accidents must usually be reported to your State or Territory Work Health and Safety authority for investigation. Check recording and reporting requirements with your local authority via the links below.

Safe Work Australia | ACT | NSW | NT | Qld | SA | Tas | Vic | WA

Contact our team

David Stout

David Stout

Director Policy National Retail Association
David is a highly-respected senior executive across a wide range of retail sectors including corporate affairs, operations, customer insights, finance, procurement, risk and regulation, stakeholder engagement, community and supply chain.  He is favourably regarded as a bipartisan and ethical operative in best practice across retail and corporate industry, regional and urban councils, local and state governments, and is currently involved in multiple advisory groups / committees.