Every year, hundreds of thousands of people are injured or fall ill at work. As a result of this, it is essential that every employer ensures that their employees receive adequate first aid. First aid provisions should protect the workers and limit the impact that an injury or illness has on them.
In this article, we will look at five things every employer must do to ensure that they have adequate first aid provisions and are prepared to deliver first aid to their staff.
The first thing that any employer should do when making their first aid arrangements is ensure that they understand the requirements of the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981.
These regulations require all employers, including the self-employed and those with less than five employees, to provide 'adequate and appropriate' equipment, facilities and personnel so that, in the event of an employee becoming injured or ill at work, they can receive immediate first aid in the workplace.
What is considered to be 'adequate and appropriate' will vary between workplaces. For example, a small office of four people may only require one first aider and one first aid box, while a large construction site with 300 employees is likely to require a significantly greater number of both, as well as a dedicated first aid room.
For more information on first aid law, click here to view the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)'s guidance on the aforementioned Regulations.
In order to work out the first aid provisions they need, an employer should complete an assessment of their first aid needs. It is important that this assessment is thorough, so the HSE recommend considering:
More information on what to consider when completing a needs assessment can be found on the HSE website.
Every employer must, at the very least, provide a suitably stocked first aid kit that its employees can use. There is no defined list of items that this kit should contain, with its contents instead being defined by the aforementioned needs assessments.
The HSE has produced the following list that can be used as a guide to understand what, at the very least, should be in a first aid kit in a low-risk environment:
Again, this list is a guide and is not exhaustive - the actual first aid equipment an employer provides should be decided upon after completing a thorough needs assessment.
It may be the case that a first aid needs assessment identifies a need for first aiders and people who can take charge of first aid operations to be present in the workplace. If so, it is important that those chosen to become trained first aiders are suitable for the role.
Some key things to consider when choosing first aiders include a person's:
Before they can act as a first aider, a person must complete an appropriate first aid training course. There are two main types of first aid course:
It is important to note that there are additional courses that a person can take that will allow them to act as a first aider, which are usually designed for specialist roles or situations. For help selecting an appropriate training course, click here to visit the relevant section of the British Red Cross website.
At Commodious, we offer a First Aid Awareness course. It is designed to provide all staff members with information on first aid law and what to do in an emergency, but it does not allow a person to act as a first aider.
Use the link below to find out more about this course: