How do I keep
myself safe at the scene of an accident?
Your safety at the scene must always be your first
consideration: do not take unacceptable risks. First,
if you’re driving, turn off the engine, then
you should quickly check for obvious dangers such as
fire, or spilt petrol.
Do not approach a car which is on fire, and if there
is spilt petrol on the ground, try to cover it with
sand or soil. Also, do not run into the road or allow
others to do so. Rather, signal to traffic to stop
from the pavement.
You should only approach the injured person(s) if it
is safe to do so.
What does ‘assessing the situation’ mean?
When we talk about ‘assessing the situation’,
this means that when you arrive on the scene of an
accident, you should first see if there is any immediate
danger to yourself.
The scene might also give you clues about the injury
of the casualty which will help you to assess what
needs to be done or what help you might need. For example,
if a car has crashed into a wall or another car, you
should be careful of the risk of fire, and be aware
that people might be trapped in the car. If a car has
hit a child on a bicycle, you should check to see if
there are any other children around besides the injured
How do you check if someone is injured?
It is important to talk to anyone who might be injured.
Reassure and comfort them, and ask them about their
injury: where it hurts and how they think they got
it. You should also check the person from head to
toe to detect any injury, particularly if they are
not able to tell you themselves what is wrong.
If the injured person is wearing a motorcycle
helmet, should I remove it?
It depends on the condition of the injured person.
If they are conscious and responding to you, do not
remove the helmet as they might have a neck or spinal
injury which could be damaged further by removing
However if the person is unconscious and not responding,
it is very difficult to assess if they are breathing
without removing the helmet. If the person is not
breathing and you need to breathe for them by delivering
rescue breaths, you will have to remove the helmet
carefully first. Try not to jerk the helmet, but
remove it as gently as you can. Follow the advice
given in the 'how to resuscitate' section.
If a cyclist or pedestrian is lying in
the road, should I move them?
Try to avoid moving the injured person
until you have assessed their injuries.
Ask bystanders to stop the traffic by
signalling to drivers from the pavement.
If you suspect that the injured person
has a neck or back injury, you must not
move them unless absolutely necessary;
that is, in immediate danger, such as
Should I take an injured person out of
a car or should I treat them in it?
It depends on the accident scene and
the condition of the person.
For example if there is a risk of fire
you may have to move the person to a
place of safety. Many conditions can
be treated while the person is in the
car, and there are some conditions where
it is advisable to leave the person in
the car until the ambulance arrives,
for example, a person with neck and spinal
injuries should only be moved if absolutely
If you are able, ensure their airway
is open by tilting the head back and
lifting the chin while they are sitting
in the car. If someone is in the car
in an awkward position, try to get behind
them and put your hands on either side
of their face with your fingertips on
the angle of the jaw. Gently lift the
jaw to open the airway. Take care not
to tilt the casualty’s neck. If
the person is unconscious and requires
C.P.R (rescue breathing and chest compressions)
it is more effective if this person is
laying flat on a hard surface. In this
situation you must move the person from
What should I do if the person
goes into shock at the roadside?
Shock can occur when someone loses a
lot of blood. It is dangerous as it prevents
the brain and other organs getting the
oxygen they need to function.
Lay the person down, preferably somewhere
dry. If possible, lay a coat or blanket
on the ground first as this will help
to reduce heat loss.
Treat the cause and raise the person’s
legs. Cover them with a coat or blanket
to keep them warm.
If I treat an injured person, will I
get sued if I do something wrong?
By giving first aid to a person you owe
them a duty of care to carry out that
first aid in accordance with your knowledge,
training and experience.
Whilst each situation will depend upon
its particular circumstances, so long
as you do your best to exercise that
duty of care it is highly unlikely that
a successful claim could be made against
How can I reduce the risk of infection
from touching blood or doing mouth to
Avoid contact with the person’s
blood if possible. If you have access
to gloves, wear them. Wash your hands
thoroughly if you suspect you have been
in direct contact with an injured person’s
blood or other body fluids.
If possible, apply pressure to the wound
using something waterproof, such as a
plastic bag. Alternatively, see if the
casualty can apply pressure to their
The risk of getting an infection from
doing mouth to mouth is very slim. If
you have access to a face shield, a barrier
device that can be used to reduce the
risk of infection, use it, especially
if there is evidence of blood around
the person’s mouth.
If I treat an injured person, will I get sued if I do
By giving first aid to a person you owe them a duty of care to
carry out that first aid in accordance with your knowledge, training
Whilst each situation will depend upon its particular circumstances,
so long as you do your best to exercise that duty of care it is
highly unlikely that a successful claim could be made against you.
How and at what age do I teach my child to cross the road?
Your example is the best starting point in teaching road safety
to your child.
Your child’s best road safety teacher is you. Why?
Because basic road safety can only be taught in the street. Your
child is out and about with you. It’s your example
he or she follows, good or bad. So you start showing them
by example and as early as possible.
Please do not wait for the school to teach road safety. It
is your responsibility as a parent to give your child the basic
Make sure that grandparents, childminders, anyone looking after
your child sets the same example as you do.
Never let your child out alone, especially under the age of 8 years (preferably
10 years). Take into account their physical and mental development
and the nature of the traffic environment in which they will find
themselves (ie consider the wisdom of sending them into a complex
environment and whether they can cope.).
Can air bags be dangerous?
There's no question that air bags save lives. But these safety
devices, which are designed to supplement the protection provided
by a motor vehicle's seat belts, can also cause serious injury
or even death under certain circumstances. Most air-bag systems
have a very low deployment threshold and open with explosive force
at a speed of 300 km/h. You can substantially reduce the risk associated
with air bags by taking a few simple precautions:
- Always wear your seat belt.
- Adjust the seat belt properly:
- place the lap belt as low as possible over the hips - not
over the abdomen;
- ensure the shoulder belt lies on the chest and over the shoulder;
- do not leave any slack in the belt.
- Adjust the vehicle's front seats as far to the rear as possible
to give the air bags as much room as possible in which to inflate.
Guidelines for Children:
- Children under the age of 12 should be seated in the back of
- Make sure the infant restraint system, the child restraint
system or the booster cushion is appropriate to the child's height
- Always ensure that the restraint system is properly secured
by the seat belt to the vehicle.
- Secure the child properly in the restraint system.
- Never install a rearward-facing infant restraint system in
a seat equipped with an air bag.
- Never place the shoulder strap of a seat belt behind the child's
back or under the arm.
What are the benefits of wearing a seatbelt?
Wearing a seat belt in the front seat saves lives . The law requires
anyone in the front or back of a car to wear a seat belt or appropriate
restraint, if one is available.
Most people in Jamaica will wear seat belts in the front of cars,
but they are more likely to lapse when it comes to wearing rear
seat belts despite the fact that back seat passengers not wearing
seat belts are three times more likely to suffer death or serious
injury as passengers who do.
- The most common reason for not belting up is because people
say they forget and some say they don't bother if they are only
going a short distance.
- Others say that belting up in the back doesn't occur to them
and that it is uncomfortable or they couldn't find the buckle.
- Oftentimes drivers would be embarrassed to ask a friend to
belt up if they were travelling as a passenger in their car.
Did you know that in a crash at 30mph, if you are unrestrained,
you will hit the front seat and anyone in it, with a force of between
30 and 60 times your own body weight.
Such an impact could result in death or serious injury to both
yourself and front seat occupants.
The price you pay for the non wearing of seatbelts
are some front seat passengers that die as a result of being
hit by a back seat passenger not wearing their seat belt.
What is adequate rest for a driver
The amount of rest a person requires varies from individual to
individual, and the quality of sleep, and the time at which that
sleep is taken is also very important.
A minimum period of 6 consecutive hours of sleep a night is recommended. In
addition, a break must allow enough time for drivers to prepare
for sleep and return to work. (Note: experts suggest the best
quality sleep is taken between 10:00 pm and 6.00 am)
What is sleep debt
When a driver has had several nights with reduced sleep this is
known as ‘sleep debt’. The accumulated effect
of a lack of sleep of a number of nights is sleepiness, reduced
performance, mood swings, until eventually the need to sleep becomes
overwhelming, and the driver could fall asleep at the wheel.
How much sleep is needed to overcome sleep debt
Whilst the minimum recommended sleep may be sufficient for one
or two consecutive nights, it is not adequate rest over a longer
period. To overcome sleep debt drivers need to have consecutive
days with periods of unrestricted rest on a regular basis. The
code of practice recommends a minimum of 2 periods of at least
24 hours rest in every 14 days.
How many short rest breaks are required
Short rest breaks do not replace sleep opportunities, although
they may break the monotony of the task, and provide an opportunity
for the driver to ‘freshen up’. Some research
has shown that short breaks are most effective when taken before
the driver is very fatigued and when the driver consumes food. Of
course, choosing the right food is also important!
Trip schedules should allow that driver to take a short rest break
when needed, however, a short rest break after every 5 hours is
generally regarded to be a minimum
How can I tell if my company driver is adequately rested and
fit for work?
Firstly all companies should have a policy that outlines what
the expectations are for the driver, i.e. present fit for work
adequately rested and free from the influence of drugs or alcohol. When
first developing a policy you should involve all existing drivers
in the decision making process. This policy should include
a clause that has a process in place in the event the employer
has concerns over fitness for work e.g. constantly yawning, smell
of alcohol or drugs on breath, inattentive or distant behavior.
How can I influence my company drivers’ out
of work activities?
You can educate workers on lifestyle issues, for example, the
advantages of responsible drinking, good quality sleep, fitness
and healthy eating. You should also have a policy where workers
present in a fit state for work – and enforce it. (See above).
Must I undertake a risk assessment
of a company for
Not if the trip has the same driver, same route, same tasks, same
times, and is carried out on a regular basis. In this case,
one risk assessment is adequate. If one of these factors
change you will need to re-do your assessment to take this change
Must company drivers be involved in every risk assessment?
Yes, they should sign off an assessment. They must be satisfied
that they can safely complete the trip/roster as detailed in the
Protective Clothing for Motorcyclists
Q What grades of leather are best for jackets?
A. According to tests conducted bovine leather will tend to last
longer than sheep or goat leather of the same thickness. Bovine
leather that is around 1.2 - 1.4 mm can give between 6 and 12
seconds of abrasion resistance which is sufficient. However it
all depends on how the leather has been treated. Two samples
of equal thickness bovine suede lasted 0.8 and 8.0 seconds respectively.
The only way to be sure is to test the actual sample, that is
why the testing systems are so useful for riders.
Q What is the purpose of gloves that have webbing between the fingers,
why do you think this is good design.
A. The fingers can take the full weight of your falling twisting
body when you hit the road. The little finger is most at risk because
it is on the outside. Webbing tends to hold it in to curve against
your palm rather than being twisted backwards.