First aid

09 July 2019

Your business must look after the health & safety of the employees in your business. It’s a duty you have to take seriously, otherwise there could be serious consequences.

But how should your business approach dealing with first aid? This guide covers the essential legal requirements to ensure you’re prepared for any accidents in the workplace.

What is first aid at work?

It’s the assistance you provide to an employee following a minor or serious injury. The care you offer can prevent a situation from becoming worse.

This means it’s important a member of staff receives immediate assistance following an incident—you should also determine whether they’ll need professional medical help. This may result in the need for an ambulance.

But are first aid kits required in the workplace? Yes. The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 covers your legal duties. The legislation explains how your business must address the issue.

The minimum requirements for first aid in the workplace are:

  • Well stocked workplace first aid kits with suitable supplies.
  • Appointing an employee to take charge of basic duties and arrangements.
  • Providing information to your staff about the arrangements in place.

Your business’ first aid legal requirements mean you must provide adequate and appropriate equipment and facilities.

There can be severe consequences to human life if you don’t follow the appropriate measures.

In a worst-case scenario, an employee may suffer a serious injury. Outcomes could include significant legal consequences, such as an employment tribunal.

What should you have in a first aid kit at work?

You must stock supplies that’ll assist with an employee who has an injury. Some of the basics of first aid facilities in the workplace include:

  • Leaflets with guidance on basic first aid assistance.
  • 20 sterile wrapped plasters that are appropriate to the type of work employees are completing.
  • Sterile eye pads (at least two).
  • Four wrapped triangular bandages—sterile.
  • At least six safety pins.
  • Three pairs of disposable gloves.

Your workplace first aid kit contents may also include scissors and tape, as well as more advanced medical supplies. This can include eyewash or basic treatments for chemical burns.

What you stock depends on the nature of your business, so research any additional requirements you may need—no matter how trivial.

For example, it’s common for some office employees to suffer from RSI (repetitive strain injury). This can come about due recurring strain on the muscles and joints.

You should look to manage your display screen equipment to limit health risks including fatigue and back pain.

Musculoskeletal issues are also commonplace from spending so much time sitting.

You can address these issues in your company policies to promote more active daily routines, which can help to limit some issues.

Managing your first aid procedures

You can have an appointed person to monitor your first aid needs. This is if your business doesn’t require a fully trained medical professional on the premises.

Even if you have a small business with few employees, it’s still your duty to offer resources for assistance.

There’s always the possibility of an accident in any workplace, so ensure suitable supplies are always available.

You can also offer training to staff members. The more employees who have knowledge of basic procedures, the more efficiently you can deal with any issues that arise.

There are many benefits of first aid training in the workplace. Some of these include:

  • Saving lives in the event of a serious incident.
  • Reducing the number of accidents that take place across your business.
  • Promoting greater safety awareness among your workforce.
  • Ensure staff use your safety applies properly.
  • Reduce the recovery time of any employees with an injury.
  • Encourage the safety of your staff members outside of work time.
  • Promote confidence and awareness across your business.
  • If you have any remote workers, it enables them to effectively deal with any injuries.

Mental health first aid in the workplace

You can take into consideration mental health requirements in your business.

Although you’re under no legal obligations to do so, it’s good business practice to respect the mental wellbeing of your staff.

You may want to consider an employee assistance programme (EAP) to assist with mental health issues. It offers professional counselling and occupational health assessments to support members of staff.

If this is available for your workforce, employees can receive assistance with:

  • Financial problems.
  • Personal life issues.
  • Mental health problems.
  • Addictions, such as with alcohol or drugs.
  • Grief assistance.

As such, an EAP can help lower levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. It can also provide employees with a better work-life balance, ensuring they’re working to the best of their abilities on a daily basis.

Otherwise, there are certain cost-effective steps you can make across your business to make your working environment more beneficial.

For example, you can provide better work-life balance by offering flexible start times to your staff. This can help them deal with their commutes to a greater degree.

Travelling each day can be stressful, so you can improve this situation with a car sharing or cycle to work scheme.

Those take some of the burden off finding and funding ways to get to work.

You can also encourage your employees to be more active during a working day, such as going out for a lunch break for a walk.

Initiatives for physical movement and social activities can alleviate the burden of mental health issues.

Looking for assistance?

If you need help with your first aid plan across your business, get in touch for immediate guidance: 0800 028 2420.

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