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Have you decided what your first aid needs are?

Since the Health and Safety Executive stopped approving first aid training and the centres that provide it, courses stopped being checked by a single external body and businesses no longer had a set government regulator for first aid, but they could instead choose from a wider range of training suppliers. In light of the change we looked at how employers decide what their first aid needs are. In fact some clients have been asked for sight of the risk assessment which determines their first aid needs. There is nothing new in the need for an assessment; the requirement is contained within the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981.

If you must assess your needs, what criteria do you need to examine? A great deal of help is available in the HSE publication INDG 214 First Aid at Work — Your Questions Answered, but first we must clarify the three levels of trained staff that are provided.

  • An Appointed Person: a person nominated to take charge of any accident in a workplace that is very low risk and with no history of significant incidents.
  • An Emergency First Aider: a person who has undergone the one-day training course in Emergency First Aid at Work.
  • A First Aider: a person who has undergone First Aid at Work training over three days and is qualified to treat a wider range of injuries than an EFAW trainee.

The following are factors to consider during your risk assessment.

  • Whether your workplace has low or high level hazards.
  • How many persons are employed?
  • Are employees inexperienced, disabled or do they have any have health problems?
  • What types of injuries/illnesses have occurred as a result of work?
  • Are any staff working alone or remotely? Are shift and/or out-of hours work carried out?
  • Are the premises spread out?
  • Is the workplace within reasonable distance of the emergency services?
  • Do staff work on other employers’ sites?
  • Do you have cover for all work patterns and do you allow for absence of trained FAs?
  • Do the public visit your workplace?
  • If you have concluded that your workplace is low or high hazard, the following guidance may apply, relating the number of trained staff to the number of employees:

Low hazard: office, shop, library

Fewer than 25 employees:  Minimum – 1 Appointed person

25–50 employees:  Minimum – 1 Emergency First Aider at Work

50+  employees: Minimum – 1 FAW per 100 staff or part of 100

High hazard: engineering, assembly, machinery, construction, warehouse

Fewer than 5 employees: Minimum 1 Appointed person

5–50 employees: Minimum 1 EFAW or FAW according to likely injuries

50+ employees: Minimum 1 FAW per 50 staff or part of 50:

For further guidance on implementing these requirements contact  Pete Reynolds or Ben Crabb.