First Aid

All you need to know about first aid.

Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their employees, other workers (e.g. casual staff, freelancers, subcontractors) and of visitors to their workplace.  This means that, should an accident occur, the first aid needed to provide that vital initial response.

Unfortunately, accidents happen, even in the best-run workplaces.  Check the section on Accidents and Near Misses for further information.  Employers must be prepared for this by considering what level of first aid provision is required, and then providing it.

The pages in this section will take you through the process of analysing your first aid needs and identifying what you must have in your workplace to deal with any incidents where first aid is required.

The legislation

  • The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 199

Frequently asked questions

Read the section on First Aid Kits which explains how to work out what your company needs to stock in its first aid kit(s). Also, very useful is the Irregular Risk Assessments page, which explains how to conduct a First Aid Risk Assessment.

Briefly, conducting a First Aid Risk Assessment of your business will identify the types of accidents and incidents which could occur and the first aid items you should have in place to deal with any resulting injuries.  Should an accident occur which you hadn’t foreseen (because human beings are unpredictable), completing the Accident Investigation Form will produce new controls which you should put in place, and which can include the types of first aid items you should have in case of a recurrence.

Once again, your First Aid Risk Assessment will help here. The important thing to remember is that whatever number of first-aiders you decide on, make sure you have enough to provide cover for absences.  So if you decide you need to have two first-aiders present at all times, you must make sure that you have a sufficient number of people trained to ensure two first-aiders are always present.

Employers are used to carrying out “due diligence” on all their suppliers, and finding a good first aid trainer must be subject to the same process. There are two main types of first aid training: face-to-face and online, and you must decide which is best for your organisation. Your First Aid Risk Assessment will help you to decide on what level of training to provide.

Face-to-face training MUST be delivered by a qualified trainer who is also a qualified first-aider. Check the credentials, ask to see certificates. Or go to known providers such as St John Ambulance or the Red Cross.

Online training is suitable for low-risk businesses, but again, you must ensure the provider you choose has credibility. Do they issue certificates on completion? Are the certificates endorsed by a recognised body such as RoSPA?