First Aid Injuries

First aid is medical care that all employers must provide to their employees. The difference between first aid and medical treatment is based on the type of treatment an employee receives. It does not depend on whether the treatment is provided by a physician or another licensed health-care professional.

The California Labor Code, Section 5401(a) defines first aid as "any one-time treatment, and any follow-up visit for the purpose of observation of minor scratches, cuts, burns, splinters, or other minor industrial injury, which do not ordinarily require medical care. This one-time treatment, and follow-up visit for the purpose of observation, is considered first aid even though provided by a physician or registered professional personnel."

Treatment is not considered first aid in either of the following circumstances:

  • Medical care goes beyond a one-time treatment and follow-up visit.
  • The injury causes an employee to lose time from work beyond his or her work shift.

Employer/Employees are not Required to Report First Aid Injuries

Another difference between first aid and medical treatment is the employer's and employee's reporting responsibilities. Specifically:

  • If treatment is considered first aid, the employer is not required to submit a Report of Employee Injury/Illness.
  • If additional care is needed beyond first aid, both the injury report and claim form must be submitted.

Doctor's Report Required if Physician Provides First Aid

Physicians who provide first aid treatment must comply with Section 6409(a) of the California Labor Code regarding first aid injury treatment reporting. The physician is required to submit a Doctor's First Report of Injury or Illness. A DFR is not required if a physician is not involved in the first aid treatment.