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Cyanide poisoning


This document is for those trained to respond to cyanide poisoning.

In the event of cyanide poisoning speed is of the essence and immediate medical attention must be sought. Summon as much assistance as possible to expedite the guidance below.

The three leading manifestations of cyanide toxicity are:

  • Metabolic acidosis

  • Cardiopulmonary failure

  • Loss of consciousness.

In the event of cyanide poisoning undertake the following:

  1. Remove the casualty from the area if exposure is continuing and it is safe to do so.  If possible, arrange for another to isolate the area.

  2. Remove contaminated clothing and thoroughly wash skin with copious amounts of tap water.

  3. Ensure airway is open.

  4. Administer high flow oxygen at the highest concentration achievable through facemask and bag at a flow rate of 8 L/min.   Continue throughout treatment.   Do not use mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

  5. Contact Security Services on 0113 34 32222 who will assist you in contacting and guiding the relevant emergency services to attend your specific location on campus.  

The above applies for all poisonings with cyanide.   In addition the following should be noted:

  •  Eye contact - immediately irrigate the eye with water for 10 minutes by the clock.   Then treat as above.

  •  Ingestion - treat as above and do not give anything by mouth.

All workplace accidents, injuries and near misses must be reported, either to your Health and Safety Manager or direct onto the Sentinel accident reporting system online. 

For more information on general first aid see Health and Safety / First Aid

Cyanide Poisoning Downloads