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Q&A

What do you mean by First Aid ?

First Aid, put simply, is the immediate action taken in an emergency. It can stop a condition from worsening, encourage recovery and even save a life. It is an invaluable aspect of any working environment or indeed any life situation where an accident or sudden illness can occur.

What are the requirements for First Aid in the Workplace ?

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to enable first aid to be given to employees if they are injured or become ill at work.

What is the minimum first aid provision I must provide ?

The minimum first aid provision in any workplace is:

Having a first-aid box containing the right equipment.
Having a person appointed to oversee first aid provision.

Applies to all workplaces including those with five or less employes. These first aid provisions must also be applied by theĀ self-employed as well.

What is an Appointed Person ?

An Appointed Person is the person who is assigned to take charge of First Aid. This means taking control when someone is ill or injured, including calling 999. They are responsible for First Aid equipment and keeping boxes stocked up. An Appointed Person should be available at all times, so it may be necessary to appoint more than one to cover the workplace fully.

What is a First Aider ?

A First Aider is a person who has successfully attended a 3 day First Aid At Work training course and who holds a current First Aid at Work certificate. More than one First Aider may be needed but a First Aider can undertake the duties of an Appointed Person.

How can I determine what First Aid training is needed ?

The following list should help determine whether more than the minimum First Aid provision (i.e. a first aid box and someone to maintain this box) is required.

If you have 5 or more employees and an assessment identifies significant risks in your workplace, then first aiders may be needed.

If there any specific risks, for example: dangerous equipment, hazardous substances, then you will need to consider specific training for First Aiders and possibly extra First Aid equipment placed in the right position.

If anyone who works on site has a disability or health problem, then you may need more qualified First Aiders or special equipment sited in the correct place.

If the organisation has a number of sites or numerous floors, then you will need to consider provision in each building or on several of the floors.

If employees do shifts or out-of-hours working, then First Aid facilities need to be available all the time when people are at work.

If the workplace some distance away from emergency medical services, then Medical services will need to be informed of your location and you may need to make special arrangements with the emergency services.

If some of your employees travel extensively or work on their own, then Personal First Aid kits and mobile phones may need to be issued.

If any employees work at sites shared by other employers, then you will need to discuss provision with the other employers.

Any trainees on work experience need to be protected by your First Aiders and/or equipment.

If members of the public visit the premises, then you have no legal responsibilities for the public regarding First Aid but the HSE recommends that you include them in your First Aid provision.

How many First Aiders or Appointed Persons are required ?

The number of First Aiders and Appointed Persons required depends on the workplace. The following table may help when deciding on the risks in your organisation and the relevant number of First Aid personnel required. The information in the table is not a legal requirement but illustrates suggestions offered by the HSE to help you decide:

Category of Risk

People employed at

any one location

Suggested Number of First Aid Personnel

Lower Risk

- fewer than 50

- 50-100

- more than 100

- at least one Appointed Person

- at least one First Aider

- one additional First Aider for every 100 employed

Medium Risk

- fewer than 20

- 20-100

- more than 100

- at least one Appointed Person

- at least one First Aider for every 50 employed

- one additional First Aider for every 100 employed

Higher Risk

- fewer than 5

- 5-50

- more than 50

- at least one Appointed Person

- at least one First Aider

- one additional First Aider for every 50 employed

(from First Aid At Work: Approved Code of Practice and Guidance, HSE Books)

What is the Requirement for Informing Employees about First Aid provision ?

It is vital that everyone in the building knows where the first aid equipment is located and who is first aid trained. This can be advertised by displaying easy to understand first aid notices in effective locations. New staff should be informed of first aid procedures during induction training and remember to make special arrangements for those who have reading or language difficulties

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