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Frequently Asked Questions


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 one.

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 the helmet.
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 from fire.

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 necessary.
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 the car.

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 you.

How can I reduce the risk of infection from touching blood or doing mouth to mouth?
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 wound themselves.
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 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 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 skills.
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:  
General Guidelines:

  • 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; and
    • 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 the vehicle.
  • Make sure the infant restraint system, the child restraint system or the booster cushion is appropriate to the child's height and weight.
  • 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 Excuses

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  • There 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 each trip?

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 into account.

 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 risk assessment.

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.