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Employers should ensure that an employee who is injured or taken ill at work receives immediate attention. HSE will prosecute in cases where there is a significant risk, a disregard for established standards or persistent poor compliance with the law.
Employer Legal Duties
The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, require employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to enable first aid to be given to employees if they are injured or become ill at work. These Regulations apply to all workplaces including those with five or fewer employees and to the self-employed.
What is deemed as ‘adequate’ will depend on the circumstances in the workplace. This includes whether trained first aiders are needed, what should be included in a first aid box and if a first aid room is needed. Employers should carry out an assessment of first aid needs to determine this.
Providing First Aid for the Public
There is no legal obligation on employers to make first aid provision for non-employees such as the public or children in schools. However, the HSE strongly recommends that non-employees are included in a first aid needs assessment and that provision is made for them.
When a First Aider is Deemed Not Necessary
When an employer’s first aid needs assessment identifies that a first aider is not necessary, the minimum requirement is to appoint a person. The appointed person shall:
- take charge when someone is injured or ill, including calling an ambulance if required;
- look after the first aid equipment, e.g. restock the first aid box.
Appointed persons should not attempt to give first aid for which they have not been trained. There are no legal requirements for appointed persons to have any approved training in order to carry out their responsibilities. However, there are courses available for appointed persons.
First Aider Training
The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require that in order to provide first aid to their employees who are injured or become ill at work, employers must have adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel. A person shall not be suitable unless they have undergone:
- such training and has such qualifications as the HSE approve for the individual case
- such additional training, if any, as may be appropriate in the circumstances of that case.
Where First Aiders have been identified as required in a workplace, they must gain a certificate of competence from a training organisation that has been approved by HSE. Courses last for at least 18 hours of training, usually held over 3 days or spread over several weeks. First Aid at Work certificates are valid for 3 years. Requalification courses are of at least 12 hours training and are normally held over 2 days.
Overseas First Aid at Work certificates are only valid if they have been issued by an HSE approved organisation in mainland Britain. If a certificate has been issued by or in another country then that certificate will not be valid in mainland Britain.
First Aiders and Legal Action
It is very unlikely that any action would be taken against a first aider who was using the first aid training they have received. It is recommended that legal advice or advice from your employer’s insurance brokers is sought on whether Employer policies cover First Aiders’ liability.
To keep current with the latest First Aid legislation and information we recommend that you refer to the following organisations:
The Health and Safety Executive
The Health and Safety Executive and local Government are the enforcing authorities working in suport of the Health and Safety Commission. The Commision are responsible for health and safety regulation in Great Britain. Information on all aspects of first aid at work can be found by selecting First aid at work in the ‘health and safety topic’ box.
The Resuscitation Council
The UK Resuscitation Council provide regularly updated education and reference materials regarding the most effective methods of resuscitation.
Learn2 is a founder member of The Learn2 Group and specialises in education and training. Learn2 specifially focuses on delivering accredited 'Alternative Curricula' and 'Foundation Learning' programmes of study.
For more information on the Learn2 Group visit www.learn2.org.uk >>