Choking – A Vital First Aid Training Skill

Choking: A Vital First Aid Training Skill

Accidents can happen anywhere, including the workplace.  As responsible individuals, being equipped with first aid training knowledge is essential to ensure the safety and well-being of ourselves and those around us.  One of the most critical online first aid training skills to possess is the ability to handle choking emergencies effectively.  In this blog post, we will explore the importance of understanding and implementing first aid techniques for choking incidents in the workplace.  Please remember that reading this blog alone will not replace thorough First Aid training such as First Aid at Work Training in Hertfordshire or Emergency First Aid at Work Training in Hertfordshire.

What is Choking?

Choking occurs when a person’s airway becomes partially or completely blocked, restricting their ability to breathe.  It can be caused by various objects, such as food, small toys, or even workplace materials.  Prompt intervention is crucial to prevent serious consequences and potentially save a person’s life.

Identifying Choking Signs  

Recognising the signs of choking is the first step in providing immediate assistance.  Take a look at some online first aid training to assist you.  Keep an eye out for the following indicators in an individual:

  1. Inability to speak or cough
  2. Clutching at the throat
  3. Panic or distress in their facial expressions
  4. Weak or ineffective coughing
  5. Wheezing or high-pitched noises while breathing
  6. Bluish skin colour (in severe cases)

Immediate Steps to Assist a Choking Victim – with First Aid Training 

When faced with a choking incident, it’s essential to act swiftly and confidently.  

Follow these steps to assist a choking victim:

  1. Encourage the person to cough:  Initially, encourage the individual to cough forcefully to dislodge the object blocking their airway.  Reinforce the idea that coughing is a natural response and may help clear the blockage.
  2. Perform up to 5 back blows, if this does not work move to abdominal thrusts.
  3. Perform up to 5 abdominal thrusts: a. Stand behind the person and slightly off to the side. b. Place one hand just above the navel and make a fist. c. Grasp your fist with the other hand and deliver quick, upward thrusts into the abdomen. d. Continue with these thrusts until the object is expelled, or the person becomes unconscious.
  4. Repeat sequence 2 and 3
  5. Call for emergency assistance:  If the choking persists or the person loses consciousness, immediately contact emergency services.
  6. Offer first aid after the object is expelled:  Once the blockage is cleared, assess the person’s condition.  Provide necessary first aid, such as checking their breathing and providing CPR if needed.

Preventing Workplace Choking Hazards through First Aid Training 

Prevention is always better than cure. Employers and employees can work together to minimise the risk of choking incidents in the workplace.

Here are some preventive measures:

  1. Educate employees: Conduct regular training sessions to raise awareness about choking hazards, proper chewing of food, and the importance of taking small bites and look to enrol staff on First Aid at Work Training in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hemel Hempstead.
  2. Post visual reminders:  Display posters or signs that illustrate Back Blows and Abdominal Thrusts and other first aid procedures for choking emergencies.
  3. Maintain a clean environment:  Keep workspaces tidy and free from small objects that could be potential choking hazards.
  4. Encourage a safety culture:  Foster an environment where employees feel comfortable reporting and addressing potential choking risks promptly.


Being prepared to handle choking emergencies is crucial for maintaining workplace safety.  By understanding the signs of choking, knowing the appropriate first aid techniques, and promoting preventive measures, we can create a safer working environment.  Investing time in learning and practicing these essential first aid skills not only benefits ourselves but also allows us to contribute to the well-being of our colleagues and co-workers.  Together, let’s ensure that everyone feels safe and supported in our workplace.  If you are interested in attending First Aid Training in Bedfordshire or First Aid Training in Hemel Hempstead then contact us at The Training Centre (London) Limited –

Some helpful Question and Answers of Choking and First Aid

Q: What is the first step to take when you encounter someone who is choking? A: The first step is to encourage the person to cough forcefully to try and dislodge the object blocking their airway.  Reinforce the idea that coughing is a natural response and may help clear the blockage.

Q: What should you do if the person cannot dislodge the object by coughing? A: If the person cannot clear the blockage by coughing, you should immediately perform back blows and then chest thrusts.

Q: What should you do if the person loses consciousness while choking? A: If the person loses consciousness, lower them gently to the ground and immediately call for emergency assistance.  Begin CPR, starting with chest compressions, and continue until help arrives.

Q: Can choking occur even if someone is not eating or drinking? A: Yes, choking can occur even if someone is not eating or drinking.  Workplace materials, small objects, or even vomit can block the airway and lead to choking. It is important to remain vigilant and address any potential choking hazards promptly.

First Aid Training Questions Continued

Q: How often should employees receive online first aid training that includes choking response? A: It is recommended that employees receive first aid training, including choking response, at least once every three years.  However, regular annual refresher courses or annual training sessions can help reinforce the knowledge and skills required to respond effectively to choking emergencies.  This can be completed with us, The Training Centre (London) Limited.  We offer First Aid Training in Bedfordshire, Hemel Hempstead and Hertfordshire and First Aid at Work Training in Hemel Hempstead and and the HSE Website here.

Q: Are there any specific considerations for providing first aid to a child who is choking? A: Yes, when providing first aid to a child who is choking, you should use age-appropriate techniques.  For infants under one year old, perform back blows and chest thrusts using 2 fingers.  For children older than one year, use back blows and abdominal thrusts.   It is important to receive proper training on paediatric first aid to ensure you respond correctly and safely in such situations.  The Training Centre offer Online First Aid Training and Paediatric First Aid Training in Hemel Hempstead, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.