First aid at work

09 July 2019

Accidents at work are bound to occur from time to time. But as an employer, you must do your best to put health and safety first.

First aid includes many elements– but they all relate to accidents and injuries. If someone gets hurt on your premises, it's your legal duty to provide first aid.

Neglecting health and safety first aid regulations leads to several consequences. Like paying compensation, business closure, and imprisonment.

In this guide, we’ll look at what first aid at work is, what the laws are, and how to manage it within your business.

What is first aid at work?

First aid at work is about giving someone immediate medical attention within a work environment.

Workplace accidents can happen to anyone–employees, customers, and even the public. When they occur, the injured party can receive help from a first aider.

Their job is to provide medical assistance until the person feels better. Or comfort them until professional emergency services arrive.

Picture of first aiders attending to a worker on the ground.

What are the laws on first aid at work?

The Health and Safety First Aid Regulations 1981 outlines the rules on first aid at work.

The minimum provisions you must provide are:

  • A first aid box (which includes suitable equipment).
  • A trained person qualified to perform first aid.
  • Information on the first aid at work.

Under the health and safety first aid regulations, employers have a legal duty to provide reasonable care to everyone on their premises.

If employees (or non-employees) face injuries in your workspace, you can be held liable.

You may be summoned to a tribunal hearing, where you’re asked to pay compensation fees. In more serious cases, you could be told to shut down your business or face imprisonment.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

The HSE is the UK’s governing regulator for workplace health and safety.

It’s impossible to avoid all workplace accidents and ill health. You can’t fully stop them from happening. But you do need to deal with them appropriately.

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (or RIDDOR) outlines safety regulations for reporting accidents.

Certain accidents, diseases, and near-misses must be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Through HSE guidance, you can effectively spot patterns in workplace accidents–and reduce major ones.

How to manage first aid provision in the workplace

As an employer, you must take all necessary steps to put employee health and safety first. Here are provisions you need for managing first aid at work:

First aid needs assessments

The first step is identifying what your business requires. This is done through a first aid needs assessment.

These risk assessments highlight everything from what type of training you need, to the number of first aiders you should have.

First aid needs assessment must cover:

  • What work is produced within the business?
  • Does any of your staff have special needs?
  • Are all employees based in one location?
  • Are there any workplace hazards and risks identified?
  • What is the nature of your work conditions?
  • Are there first aid provisions for non-employees? (Like customers or contractors).

It’s advisable to document all findings. This’ll highlight your level of first aid–helping you prevent minor injuries and near-accidents overall.

First aid arrangements

After the assessments, make appropriate first aid arrangements for your workplace.

Your first-aid provision should include:

  • Having appropriate first aid equipment (kept well stocked).
  • Training responsible and qualified first aiders.
  • Demonstrating first-aid arrangements and procedures.

First aiders

The next step would be to establish a first aider.

This ‘appointed person’ must be given all the information and training needed to manage first aid at work. Like dealing with minor injuries or consulting emergency services. They must be readily available at any time during work.

Every workplace should have one first aider. The general rule is one aider for every 50 employees: and one per floor. For high-risk workplaces, like construction sites or medical services, you need one for every five people.

First aid training

Once you’ve selected your first aiders, the next step is completing first aid training.

Your assessment will outline what type of first aid at work training employees receive. For example, training providers can offer basic skills or advanced sessions, like emergency first aid training.

First aiders require one of the following:

  • A certificate in first aid training.
  • A certificate in emergency first aid training.
  • An appropriate qualification relating to first aid training.

Certificates normally last for three years. Before they expire, first aiders must retake the course to legally qualify.

It is important to update first aid skills and knowledge through annual refresher training.

First aiders are not required to complete all levels. But it is strongly recommended to provide as much training as you can.

Picture of first aid training

First aid equipment

It’s so important to have an appropriate first aid kit. Some companies might only need one box, whilst bigger companies require more.

First aid boxes must be easily accessible for aiders. And they need necessary first aid provision, like plasters, disposable gloves, and gauze pads.

If your workplace is more specialised, tailor the kit to suit your needs. For example, people working on outdoor building sites can be given additional heat packs and blankets.

First aid facilities

First aid facilities, like medical rooms, allow injured people to receive immediate attention–away from the public.

Not all businesses will require first-aid facilities. However, having a designated area is beneficial for staff members and customers.

Every room should have:

  • Sufficient space for an examination area.
  • Suitable lighting, heating, and ventilation.
  • Washable surfaces to uphold cleanliness.
  • Good access for transport to hospitals.

The rooms should display who your first aiders are, and how to contact them during emergencies.

Get expert advice on the first aid at work with Peninsula

It is important to protect everyone found within your premises. Having sufficient first aid is a terrific way to ensure this.

If you neglect these legal requirements, you could face grave consequences to your business.

Peninsula offers expert advice on first aid at work. Our teams are ready to help you with everything–from booking first aid training providers to complying with welfare laws.

Our 24/7 HR advice is available 365 days a year; with multi-lingual support and fully trained counsellors ready to help.

Want to find out more? Book a free consultation with one of our HR consultants. Call 0800 028 2420

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