Revised Training Requirements For First Aiders

Peninsula Team

November 18 2009

A new training regime for first aiders in the workplace has recently come into effect as a result of changes introduced into the Approved Code of Practice by the Health and Safety Executive.

Organisations must make suitable and sufficient provision to provide first aid at work. The exact requirements depend on the risks and potential for injury at the particular workplace. First aid requirements can range from an Appointed Person and basic first aid kit to several First Aiders or an Occupational Health Nurse and a first aid room with substantial first aid supplies where the risks are significant.

When assessing the requirements in a particular workplace employers should have regard to the Table 1 from the Approved Code of Practice.

Table 1.  Recommended Number of Occupational First Aiders

(from HSE  Approved Code of Practice and guidance - First Aid at Work. Second edition 2009.)

Category of risk

Number employed at any location

Suggested number of first aid personnel

Low hazard - e.g. shops, offices, libraries.

Fewer than 25

At least one Appointed Person.


At least one first aider trained in Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW).

More than 50

At least one First Aider trained in First Aid at Work (FAW) for every 100 employees (or part thereof).

Higher hazard - e.g. light engineering, assembly work, food processing, construction sites, slaughter houses, chemical plants, work with dangerous machinery or sharp instruments, etc

Fewer than 5

At least one Appointed Person.


At least one first aider trained in EFAW depending on the type of injuries that might occur.

More than 50

At least one First Aider trained in FAW for every 50 employees (or part thereof)

Where there are hazards for which additional first aid skills are necessary.

At least one First Aider trained in FAW plus those specific additional skills

EFAW training, a short course, allows the first aider to give emergency aid to anyone who is injured or becomes ill while at work. The longer FAW training course includes EFAW training and also allows the First Aider to apply first aid to a range of specific injuries and illnesses.

Training courses for both FAW and EFAW, must be provided by a training body approved by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or Ofqual/ Scottish Qualifications Authority. First Aiders who successfully complete the course will obtain a certificate of competence which is valid for three years.

Certificates can be renewed for another three year period by attending approved refresher training 3 months before or within 1 month of their expiry date. Existing certificates (pre-dating October 2009) of first aid competence remain valid until their expiry date.

There is no requirement for annual refresher training, though it is strongly recommended by HSE.

Where an employer decided that a trained First Aider is not required they must appoint at least one person to act as an Appointed Person. The Appointed Person takes charge of any first aid situation that arises; calling the emergency services, giving comfort to the injured person and helping paramedic or ambulance attendants when they arrive on site. One day training courses, which do not require HSE approval, are available for Appointed Persons.

These changes represent a modest relaxation of the existing requirements. HSE estimates that they will save employers around £52 million in the coming year.

If you need further advice please contact our 24 Hour Advice Service on 0844 892 2785.

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