The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require you to provide adequate and appropriate first-aid equipment, facilities and people so your employees can be given immediate help if they are injured or taken ill at work. What is ‘adequate and appropriate’ will depend on the circumstances in your workplace and you should assess what your first-aid needs are – this is called a first aid needs assessment.
The minimum first-aid provision on any work site is:
- A suitably stocked first-aid kit.
- An appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements.
- Information for employees about first-aid arrangements.
An “appointed person” is designated to co-ordinate and carry out certain actions in an emergency situation such as contacting emergency services and restocking your first aid box. They are not a ‘first aider’ and should not perform first aid such as CPR for which they are not trained. You don’t need to do a course to be an appointed person although they are available.
A “first aider” receives practical hands on training to assist in the preservation of life until the emergency services arrive or to assist in the recovery of less serious injuries.
The level of first aid training varies with the most common courses available being the First-aid at work “3 day course” and Emergency first-aid at work “1 day course” with the 3 day course obviously being more thorough.
One of the reasons for a first aid needs assessment is to ensure that you provide the correct type of first aid training so that your first aiders are trained to deal with the injuries and illnesses that could occur within your business. The course provider will be able to give you information as to what topics are covered on the course, as an example they may include the following:
Your first aid requirements will be based on the outcomes of your first aid needs assessment which considers –
- The nature of the work, the hazards and the risks.
- The nature of the workforce.
- The organisation’s history of accidents and illness.
- The needs of travelling, remote and lone workers.
- Work patterns such as shift work.
- The distribution of the workforce.
- The remoteness of the site from emergency medical services.
- Employees working on shared or multi-occupied sites.
- Annual leave and other absences of first aiders.
- First-aid provision for non-employees.
- The size of the organisation.