Social distancing, yes, but other First Aid Remains important – Here’s How to Deliver Choking First Aid

Workplace focus on social distancing may be neglecting other health and safety issues, new research has revealed.

Katie Campbell, who works with Skills Training Group as a First Aid Trainer and has been delivering courses all over the UK for the past 13 years, explains the signs that someone is choking and how to properly administer back blows and abdominal thrusts:

Back blows and abdominal thrusts would be utilised if you suspect a casualty is choking. When it comes to the signs of choking, the face normally turns red, the person may grip and point towards the neck, they probably cannot complete full sentences, and they may be coughing excessively or may not be able to make a sound at all.

Here are three simple steps to follow if you suspect a casualty is choking:

• Step 1: Back blows
Lean the casualty well forwards (over the knee if a small a child) and give up to 5 sharp blows to the middle of the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand

• Step 2: Abdominal thrusts

Stand behind the casualty and wrap your arms around their waist making a fist with one of your hands, and using the other to grab it. The image above shows the correct hand position. Sharply pull inwards and upwards 5 times

• Step 3: Call 999

Repeat cycles of back blows and abdominal thrusts until the blockage dislodges, help arrives, or the casualty becomes unresponsive. If you can’t call 999, make sure someone else does
When performing abdominal thrusts, most rescuers do not pull with enough force – remember, we want to try and force a lodged object out of the airway!

Mark McShane, Managing Director at Skills Training Group, commented:

“Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many employers are putting new measures into place to keep their employees safe. However, as a result of the new social distancing focus, other aspects of workplace health and safety, such as first aid education and qualifications, may be being accidently overlooked.

“As many of us slowly return to the workplace after months of working from home, accidents can easily happen, and some can quickly escalate into life or death situations. Our courses educate employees on how to handle a wide range of specific work-related situations – such as how to handle choking, wounds, burns, and more – as well as teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for adults, children, and babies”.

For more information on the research, visit: