FAQ

We have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions, but if you cannot find the answers you are looking for here, why not submit a question using our contact form?

What is a risk assessment of First Aid needs? (RAOFAN)

Employers are required to carry out an assessment of First Aid needs. This involves consideration of workplace hazards and risks, the size of the organisation and other relevant factors, to determine what First Aid equipment, facilities and personnel should be provided.

A free HSE leaflet, which contains a useful checklist covering the points employers should consider when carrying out the assessment which can be found in the Download Area.

How many First Aiders does an employer need?

The findings of your First Aid needs assessment will help you decide how many First Aiders are required. There are no hard and fast rules on exact numbers and you will need to take into account all the relevant circumstances of your particular workplace.

See the Appendix 3 (Page 33) of the HSE L74 guidance in the Download Area.

Is this system easy to use?

This online tool is extremely user friendly, with guidance and support offered at every step of the process.

The questions are very clear without the use of legal jargon, which removes the myth of the assessment being a complex process.

It is also very beneficial to be able to stop and re-start the process at various stages of the build, knowing that all your previous entries are saved.

At the end, you will be able to print off a report that details your requirements which is compared against what you have.

If appropriate, you can choose to print your certificate of compliance.

Should you experience a shortfall, then you will have options along the way to rectify them.

Am I obligated to conduct a risk assessment of First Aid needs?

Yes you are!

All employers have a statutory obligation to their employees, in ensuring that the working environment is a safe and healthy one, in which to work.

This includes providing a First Aid provision should staff be taken ill or injured at work, irrespective of whether the illness was caused by the work or not.

The amount of provision, which includes equipment, facilities and personnel, will depend on a number of factors that is probably unique to your workplace.

All of these factors must be taken into account, which in essence is your assessment.

It would be useful for you to have a record of your needs assessment so that you can demonstrate to a safety representative, a HSE or local authority inspector how you decided on your level of First Aid provision.

Can I manage my assessment should my business circumstances change?

It is almost certain that your workplace circumstances will change from the time that you last completed your assessment.

You may have moved premises. Staff may have left. New staff may have joined the business. First Aiders may have left. The risks and hazards may have changed.

There could be many, many more reasons.

During your period of subscription, you will have access to your assessment at all times.

Any change to your business circumstances could well have an impact on this assessment which could mean that you are no longer compliant.

Therefore, it is imperative that you keep this assessment up to date.

You will receive reminders from us on a regular basis so that you can address any changes that may have occurred.

What is an appointed person?

When an employer's First Aid needs assessment indicates that a First Aider is unnecessary, the minimum requirement is to appoint a person to take charge of First Aid arrangements.

The roles of this appointed person include looking after the First Aid equipment and facilities and calling the emergency services when required. They can also provide emergency cover, within their role and competence, where a First Aider is absent due to unforeseen circumstances (annual leave does not count).

Do appointed persons need to undertake first-aid training?

To fulfill their role, appointed persons do not need First Aid training. However, emergency First Aid training courses are available.

Can appointed persons perform first aid, e.g. cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)?

Appointed persons are not First Aiders and should not attempt to give first aid for which they have not been trained.

What should a first-aid box in the workplace contain?

The decision on what to provide will be influenced by the findings of the First Aid needs assessment.

As a guide, where work activities involve low hazards, a minimum stock of First Aid items might be:

• A leaflet giving general guidance on first aid (for example, HSE's leaflet Basic advice on first aid at work) which can be found in the Download Area.
• 20 individually wrapped sterile plasters (assorted sizes), appropriate to the type of work (hypoallergenic plasters can be provided if necessary);
• Two sterile eye pads;
• Two individually wrapped triangular bandages, preferably sterile;
• Six safety pins;
• Two large individually wrapped unmedicated sterile wound dressings;
• Six medium-sized individually wrapped unmedicated sterile wound dressings;
• At least three pairs of disposable gloves (for advice on latex gloves please see Selecting latex gloves) which can be found in the Download Area.

This is only a suggested contents list.

Employers may wish to refer to British Standard BS 8599 which provides further information on the contents of workplace First Aid kits. Whether using a First Aid kit complying with BS 8599 or an alternative kit, the contents should reflect the outcome of the First Aid needs assessment. It is recommended that you don't keep tablets and medicines in the First Aid box.

How often should the content of First-Aid boxes be replaced?

Although there is no specified review timetable, many items, particularly sterile ones, are marked with expiry dates. They should be replaced by the dates given and expired items disposed of safely. In cases where sterile items have no dates, it would be advisable to check with the manufacturers to find out how long they can be kept. For non-sterile items without dates, it is a matter of judgement, based on whether they are fit for purpose.

Can legal action be taken against First Aiders?

It is very unlikely that any action would be taken against a First Aider using the First Aid training they have received. HSE cannot give any specific advice on this issue as it does not fall within HSE's statutory powers.

It is recommended that you seek legal advice, or advice from your employer's insurance brokers on whether their policies cover First Aiders' liability.

What first-aid equipment should be provided?

Once an assessment of First Aid needs has been carried out, the findings can be used to decide what First Aid equipment should be provided in the workplace. The minimum requirement is a suitably stocked First Aid box. The assessment may indicate that additional materials and equipment are required such as scissors, hypoallergenic microporous adhesive tape, disposable aprons and individually wrapped, moist wipes. They may be put in the First Aid box or stored separately.

If mains tap water is not readily available for eye irrigation, at least one litre of sterile water or sterile normal saline (0.9%) in sealed, disposable containers should be provided. When the seal has been broken, containers should not be kept for reuse. Containers should also not be used beyond their expiry date.

Are First Aiders allowed to give tablets and medication to casualties?

First Aid at Work does not include giving tablets or medicines to treat illness. The only exception to this is where aspirin is used when giving first aid to a casualty with a suspected heart attack, in accordance with currently accepted First Aid practice. It is recommended that tablets and medicines should not be kept in the First Aid box.
Some workers carry their own medication that has been prescribed by their doctor (e.g. an inhaler for asthma). If an individual needs to take their own prescribed medication, the
First Aider's role is generally limited to helping them to do so and contacting the emergency services as appropriate.
Medicines legislation restricts the administration of injectable medicines. Unless self-administered, they may only be administered by or in accordance with the instructions of a doctor (e.g. by a nurse). However, in the case of adrenaline there is an exemption to this restriction, which means in an emergency a layperson is permitted to administer it by injection for the purpose of saving life.

Are the First Aid Regulations appropriate to the self-employed?

If you are self-employed you are required to ensure you have such equipment, as may be adequate and appropriate in the circumstances, to provide first aid to yourself while at work. You should make an assessment of the hazards and risks in your workplace and establish an appropriate level of First Aid provision.

If you carry out activities involving low hazards (eg clerical work) in your own home, you would not be expected to provide First Aid equipment beyond your normal domestic needs. If your work involves driving long distances or you are continuously on the road, the assessment may identify the need to keep a personal First Aid kit in your vehicle.

Many self-employed people work on mixed premises with other self-employed or employed workers. Although you are legally responsible for your own First Aid provision, it is sensible to make joint arrangements with the other occupiers and self-employed workers on the premises. This would generally mean that one employer would take responsibility for first aid for all workers on the premises. HSE strongly recommends there is a written agreement for any such arrangement.

Are there special requirements for diving?

Under the Diving at Work Regulations 1997, a diving contractor is required to provide medical and First Aid equipment during a diving project. In the event of a diving medical incident, the diving supervisor remains in control of any action to be taken.
The HSE has specific web pages on diving including information on First Aid requirements for commercial inland/inshore and offshore diving projects

Can Appointed Persons perform First Aid e.g. CPR?

Appointed persons are not First Aiders and should not attempt to give First Aid for which they have not been trained.

Can First Aiders contribute to improving Health and Safety?

The HSE has become aware of research findings that suggest people with First Aid training may have a positive influence on health and safety in the workplace. First Aiders may be in an advantageous position to help spread positive, basic health and safety messages throughout industry.

To help evaluate this further, HSE commissioned research to assess the size of the ‘workplace First Aid population’ in Great Britain. From the data, HSE has provisionally estimated that at least 1.4 million workers have an up-to-date certificate in FAW or have recently completed First Aid training for appointed persons. The findings of the research have been published in the HSE survey of first aid training organisations research report. Details of the report can be found on the HSE website

In addition, an article on this work has been published in Occupational Health Review (2005; Issue 113:31-32), discussing the possibility that First Aiders may have a role as intermediaries in occupational health and safety.

Can I manage my online assessment should my business circumstances change?

It is almost certain that your workplace circumstances will change from the time that you last completed your assessment. You may have moved premises. Staff may have left. New staff may have joined the business. First Aiders may have left. The risks and hazards may have changed. There could be many, many more reasons.

During your period of subscription, you will have access to your assessment at all times. Any change to your business circumstances could well have an impact on this assessment which could mean that you are no longer compliant. Therefore, it is imperative that you keep this assessment up to date. You will receive reminders from us on a regular basis so that you can address any changes that may have occurred.

Do appointed persons need to undertake First Aid training?

To fulfil their role, appointed persons do not need First Aid training. However, emergency First Aid training courses are available.

Do I need to make First Aid provision for members of the public?

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 do not require employers to provide first aid for members of the public. However, many organisations such as schools, places of entertainment, fairgrounds and shops provide a service for others. HSE strongly recommends that employers include the public in their First Aid needs assessment and make provision for them.

Do I need to record any accidents and ill-health at my workplace?

Under health and safety law, you must report and keep a record of certain injuries, incidents and cases of work-related disease. You can find out which ones must be reported and how to report them by looking at RIDDOR 2013 in the Download Area Keeping records will help you to identify patterns of accidents and injuries, and will help when completing your risk assessment. Your insurance company may also want to see your records if there is a work-related claim.

Do I need to record incidents requiring the attention of a First Aider?

It is good practice to provide your First Aiders and appointed persons with a book in which to record incidents they attend. The information can help you identify accident trends and possible areas for improvement in the control of health and safety risks. It can be used for reference in future First Aid needs assessments. The record book is not the same as the statutory accident book though the two might be combined. Useful information to record includes:

• The date, time and place of the incident;
• The name and job of the injured or ill person;
• Details of the injury/illness and what first aid was given;
• Details about what happened to the person immediately afterwards (eg went back to work, went home, went to hospital); and
• The name and signature of the First Aider or person dealing with the incident.

Employers, self-employed people and those in control of premises have a duty to report some accidents and incidents at work under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR). Further information on RIDDOR 2013 can be found in the Download Area.

Do the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 cover large events such as concerts?

Only in so far as employers are responsible for providing first aid for their employees. At events such as concerts, it is the event organiser's responsibility to ensure the availability of medical, ambulance and First Aid assistance as appropriate for all those involved.

How do I select a First Aid training provider?

The HSE has produced guidance (GEIS3) for employers. It will help you identify and select a competent training provider to deliver your First Aid training needs. When your First Aid needs assessment indicates that trained First Aiders are required, the training should meet the required standard. First Aid training is available from a number of sources. The 2013 amendment to regulation 3(2) of the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 removed the requirement for HSE to approve the training and qualifications of appointed First Aid personnel. As the HSE no longer approves First Aid training and qualifications, this guidance has been produced to help employers select First Aid training providers. The ‘GEIS3 – Selecting a First Aid Training Provider’ document can be found in the Download Area.

How do the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 relate to First Aid provision in schools?

Employers are responsible for the provision of appropriate First Aid equipment, facilities and First Aid personnel in respect of their employees – this includes schools, as they are workplaces. Although the Regulations do not require employers to provide first aid for anyone else, HSE strongly encourages employers to consider non-employees when carrying out their First Aid needs assessment and to make provision for them.

How many First Aiders do I need?

The findings of your First Aid needs assessment will help you decide how many First Aiders are required. There are no hard and fast rules on exact numbers and you will need to take into account all the relevant circumstances of your particular workplace.
See the Appendix 3 (Page 33) of the HSE L74 guidance in the Download Area.

Is the RAOFAN system easy to use?

This online tool is extremely user friendly, with guidance and support offered at every step of the process.

The questions are very clear without the use of legal jargon, which removes the myth of the assessment being a complex process. It is also very beneficial to be able to stop and re-start the process at various stages of the build, knowing that all your previous entries are saved.

At the end, you will be able to print off a report that details your requirements which is compared against what you have. If appropriate, you can choose to print your certificate of compliance. Should you experience a shortfall, then you will have options along the way to rectify them.

What are my legal duties in respect of First Aid?

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work.

These Regulations apply to all workplaces including those with less than five employees and to the self-employed. What is ‘adequate and appropriate’ 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 required. Employers should carry out an assessment of First Aid needs to determine what to provide. The Regulations do not place a legal duty on employers to make First Aid provision for non-employees such as the public or children in schools. However, HSE strongly recommends that non-employees are included in an assessment of First Aid needs and that provision is made for them. Further guidance can be found making adequate and appropriate provision for first aid in the Download Area.

What are the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981?

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 (1982 in Northern Ireland) require employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work.

These Regulations apply to all workplaces including those with less than five employees and to the self-employed. What is ‘adequate and appropriate’ 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 required. Employers should carry out an assessment of First Aid needs to determine what to provide.

The Regulations do not place a legal duty 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 an assessment of First Aid needs and that provision is made for them. Further guidance on these Regulations can be found in the Download Area.

What are the penalties for not meeting first aid at work regulations?

Breaches of the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 are dealt with proportionately. Enforcement action could include the issuing of a notice or prosecution if the circumstances warrant it.

What are the special requirements for offshore work?

Industry-specific legislation exists for the offshore industry to take account of the remoteness and difficulties associated with access to medical and health care expertise. The Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works (First Aid) Regulations came into force in 1989. The Regulations require the person in control (such as an installation operator) to provide suitable medical and First Aid facilities, as well as sufficiently trained and competent First Aiders and offshore medics.

The person in control should assess the level of first aid and health care provision needed on individual installations or barges. This will include how many trained offshore medics and First Aiders are needed, the amount and type of equipment and the types of drugs supplied. A minimum equipment list can be found in First Aid and Medical equipment on offshore installations, produced by Oil and Gas UK.

The person in control has to ensure that adequate health care and first aid is provided for everyone on the installation or barge, including visitors and contractors. This extends to people working on certain associated vessels (e.g. during installation commissioning or decommissioning). The person in control also has to make arrangements for a registered medical practitioner to supervise the offshore medic and give advice if necessary. This practitioner is usually based onshore. The offshore medic would normally have responsibility for the sickbay.

The size, siting, layout and facilities of the sickbay should be sufficient to provide accommodation and medical support for an ill or injured person for up to 48 hours – see the Oil and Gas UK publication above for more information. Detailed information can be found in the Approved Code of Practice and guidance: (Health Care and First Aid on Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works) located in the Download Area. This publication was revised in 2000 and provides supporting guidance to the Regulations. The Oil and Gas UK guidance referred to above should also be read in conjunction with this publication.

What First Aid arrangements do I need to put in place?

You must have First Aid arrangements in your workplace.

You are responsible for making sure that your employees receive immediate attention if they are taken ill or are injured at work. Accidents and illness can happen at any time and First Aid can save lives and prevent minor injuries from becoming major ones. Your arrangements will depend on the particular circumstances in your workplace and you need to assess what your First Aid needs are.

As a minimum, you must have:
• A suitably stocked First Aid box
• An appointed person to take charge of First Aid arrangements
• Information for all employees giving details of First Aid arrangements

You might decide that you need a First Aider. This is someone who has been trained by an approved organisation and holds a qualification in First Aid at Work or Emergency First Aid at Work.

More detailed information can be found in the document ‘First Aid at Work – Your questions answered’ that can be found in the Download Area.

What First Aid training is required?

Training organisations should use training material, and teach the First Aid management of injuries and illness, as covered in FAW/EFAW training courses and in accordance with:

• Current guidelines published by the Resuscitation Council (UK); and
• The current edition of the First Aid manual of the Voluntary Aid Societies (St John Ambulance, British Red Cross, St Andrew’s First Aid); or
• Other published guidelines, provided they are in line with the two above or supported by a responsible body of medical opinion.

Where an employer’s First Aid needs assessment identifies, or an employer chooses to use qualifications other than FAW or EFAW to demonstrate workplace First Aid competence, it will be necessary for an employer to ensure that common elements of the syllabus are taught in accordance with the same guidelines. Where an employer decides to provide this training in-house, they will need to establish that it is appropriate by ensuring that the content reflects the content of the FAW or EFAW qualifications as detailed in the Download Area and is delivered in accordance with currently accepted standards for First Aid.

What information should be recorded for incidents or accidents?

It is good practice to provide your First Aiders and appointed persons with a book in which to record incidents they attend.

The information can help you identify accident trends and possible areas for improvement in the control of health and safety risks. It can be used for reference in future First Aid needs assessments. The record book is not the same as the statutory accident book though the two might be combined.

Useful information to record includes:
• The date, time and place of the incident;
• The name and job of the injured or ill person;
• Details of the injury/illness and what first aid was given;
• Details about what happened to the person immediately afterwards (eg went back to work, went home, went to hospital); and
• The name and signature of the First Aider or person dealing with the incident.

Employers, self-employed people and those in control of premises have a duty to report some accidents and incidents at work under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR). Further information on RIDDOR 2013 can be found in the Download Area.

What information do I need to provide for employees?

You have to inform your employees of the arrangements you have put in place for First Aid. Putting up notices telling staff who and where the First Aiders or appointed persons are, and where the First Aid box is, will usually be enough. You will need to make special arrangements to give First Aid information to employees with reading or language difficulties.

Who is responsible for keeping the records?

It is usually the First Aider or appointed person who looks after the book.
However, employers have overall responsibility.

Do I need to provide a room for First Aid?

You should provide a suitable First Aid room(s) where your First Aid needs assessment identifies this as necessary.

Do I have to provide a First Aid kit that is British Standard 8599?

it is not a regulatory requirement under the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 to purchase kits that comply with this standard. Instead the contents of a first aid box is dependent on an employers first aid needs assessment.

This means for employers following a needs assessment the options are:

1. Within your workplace you have access to a first aid kit whose contents complies with BS 8599 and matches or exceeds the findings from your needs assessment; or ...

2. Within your workplace you have access to a first aid kit whose contents matches the findings from your needs assessment but does not comply with the requirements of BS 8599.

What should be kept in the First Aid room?

Typical examples of the equipment and facilities a First Aid room may contain are:
• A sink with hot and cold running water;
• Drinking water and disposable cups;
• Soap and paper towels;
• A store for First Aid materials;
• Foot-operated refuse containers, lined with yellow, disposable clinical waste bags or a container suitable for the safe disposal of clinical waste;
• An examination/medical couch with waterproof protection and clean pillows and blankets;
• A chair;
• A telephone or other communication equipment; and
• A record book for recording incidents attended by a First Aider or appointed person.

What signs should I have and where should I put them?

All First Aid boxes should have a white cross on a green background.

Similarly, First Aid rooms should be easily identifiable by white lettering or a white cross on a green background.

Signs should be placed where they can be seen (not obstructed from view) and easily identified.

When can an Epipen be used?

The use of an Epipen to treat anaphylactic shock is an example of an exemption from the restriction imposed by the medicines legislation. Therefore, First Aiders may administer an Epipen if they are dealing with a life-threatening emergency involving a casualty who has been prescribed and is in possession of an Epipen, and where the First Aider is trained to use it.

When dealing with a casualty, how can the risk of cross-infection be minimised?

Training courses for First Aiders in the workplace highlight the importance of preventing cross-infection in First Aid procedures. Particular concerns have been raised about the possibility of First Aiders becoming infected by a blood-borne virus (including HIV, hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus) while performing first aid. See the HSE's free leaflet ‘Blood-borne viruses in the workplace’ in the Download Area. which, addresses this issue and advises on steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of infection.

Who should have access to the First Aid room?

If possible, the room should be reserved specifically for providing first aid and a designated person (First Aider or appointed person) should be given responsibility for supervising it. The room should be easily accessible to stretchers and be clearly signposted and identified.

What does my employer have to do on first aid?

Your employer is expected to have:

• Completed a First Aid needs assessment
• Ensured that there is either an appointed person to take charge of First Aid arrangements or, if necessary, there are appropriate numbers of suitably trained First Aiders
• Ensured there are adequate facilities and a suitable stocked First Aid box
• Provided you with information about the First Aid arrangements

This FAQ has some answers to specific questions regarding employees and First Aid. If you have any other queries, please refer to the (FAQs) for employers and legislation, First Aid personnel and training or training organisations.

What factors should be considered when selecting someone to be a First Aider?

When selecting someone to take up the role of a first-aider, a number of factors need to be taken into account, including an individual’s:
• Reliability, disposition and communication skills
• Aptitude and ability to absorb new knowledge and learn new skills
• Ability to cope with stressful and physically demanding emergency procedures
• Normal duties, which should be such that they may be able to respond immediately and rapidly to an emergency

What should employers do in respect of First Aid provision, for employees who travel regularly or work elsewhere?

Employers are responsible for meeting the First Aid needs of their employees working away from the main site. The assessment of First Aid needs should determine whether:
• Those who travel long distances or are continuously mobile should carry a personal First Aid box; and
• Employees should be issued with personal communicators/mobile phones

Are First Aid certificates issued in Northern Ireland valid in GB?

A member of staff may have done their first aid training – and had their certificate for regulatory purposes issued in Northern Ireland. Both First aid at Work and Emergency First Aid at Work certificates issued by HSE Northern Ireland approved first aid training providers can be recognised by employers in GB as an equivalent to the GB qualifications of the same name, without undertaking any due diligence.

Are First Aid certificates issued overseas valid in GB?

A member of staff may have done their first aid training – and had their certificate for regulatory purposes issued in another country outside Great Britain. You will need to make checks that the syllabus content and the standards of training are appropriate and meet the criteria set by HSE.

Are First Aiders allowed to give tablets and minimise to casualties?

First aid at work does not include giving tablets or medicines to treat illness. The only exception to this is where aspirin is used when giving first aid to a casualty with a suspected heart attack, in accordance with currently accepted First Aid practice.

It is recommended that tablets and medicines should not be kept in the First Aid box. Some workers carry their own medication that has been prescribed by their doctor (eg an inhaler for asthma). If an individual needs to take their own prescribed medication, the First Aider's role is generally limited to helping them to do so and contacting the emergency services as appropriate.

Medicines legislation restricts the administration of injectable medicines. Unless self-administered, they may only be administered by or in accordance with the instructions of a doctor (eg by a nurse). However, in the case of adrenaline there is an exemption to this restriction, which means in an emergency a layperson is permitted to administer it by injection for the purpose of saving life.

Does the Emergency First Aid at Work course replace appointed person training?

For regulatory purposes, successfully completing an EFAW course will enable the student to act as a First Aider in the workplace. The role of the appointed person remains and there continues to be no regulatory requirement for such personnel to undertake first aid training. However, employers can still send appointed persons on basic first aid training such as on EFAW courses, in which case they would become First Aiders in regulatory terms.

How do I select a competent First Aid training provider?

The HSE has produced guidance (GEIS3) for employers. It will help you identify and select a competent training provider to deliver your First Aid training needs.

When your First Aid needs assessment indicates that trained First Aiders are required, the training should meet the required standard. First Aid training is available from a number of sources. The 2013 amendment to regulation 3 of the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 removed the requirement for HSE to approve the training and qualifications of appointed First Aid personnel. As the HSE no longer approves First Aid training and qualifications, this guidance has been produced to help employers select First Aid training providers. The ‘GEIS3 – Selecting a First Aid Training Provider’ document can be found in the Download Area.

How many First Aiders are needed?
The findings of your First Aid needs assessment will help you decide how many First Aiders are required. There are no hard and fast rules on exact numbers and you will need to take into account all the relevant circumstances of your particular workplace. See the Appendix 3 (Page 33) of the HSE L74 guidance in the Download Area.
Is annual refresher training a mandatory requirement?

No. It is strongly recommended to employers to help trained first aiders maintain their basic skills and keep up to date with any changes in First Aid procedures.

First Aid Re-qualification training information

All First Aid training certificates, whether First Aid at Work, Emergency First Aid at Work, or some other appropriate training are valid for three years.

You need to arrange retraining before the certificates expire.

The FAW re-qualification course lasts two days and should cover the same content as the initial FAW course.

If the First Aider does not retrain, or re-qualify before the expiry date on their current certificate, they are no longer considered competent to act as a First Aider in the workplace and may leave your workplace with a shortfall. They can re-qualify at any time after the expiry date by undertaking the two-day re-qualification course. However, it may be prudent to complete the 3 day First Aid at Work course, especially where a considerable period – i.e. in excess of one month – has lapsed since the FAW certificate expired.

It is for the employer to decide the most appropriate training course to re-qualify the First Aider. An Emergency First Aid at Work re-qualification course should be of the same duration and content as the previous 1 day EFAW course.

First Aid at Work certificate exemptions

There are certain health professionals that are exempt from holding a qualification in First Aid. Providing they can demonstrate current knowledge and skills in First Aid, the training and experience of the following, qualify them to administer First Aid in the workplace without the need to hold an FAW or EFAW, or equivalent qualification.

They include:
• Doctors registered and licensed with the General Medical Council
• Nurses registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council
• Paramedics registered with the Health and Care Professions Council

If an employee has a current First Aid qualification other than FAW or EFAW, you may consider whether it would be suitable in relation to the role of the workplace First Aider, and your needs assessment.

The law relating to Health & Safety

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees. This also extends to non-employees such as outside contractors and members of the public.

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, 1982 in Northern Ireland.
The Regulations do not require employers to provide First Aid for anyone other than their own employees. However, many organisations, such as schools, places of entertainment, fairgrounds and shops, provide a service for others and it is strongly recommended that employers include non-employees in their assessment of First Aid needs and make provision for them.

The Management of the Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Organisations have a legal duty to put in place suitable arrangements to manage Health and Safety. You must manage the health and safety risks in your workplace. To do this, you need to think about what, in your business, might cause harm to people and decide whether you are doing enough to prevent that harm. This is known as a risk assessment. Once you have identified the risks, you need to decide how to control them and put the appropriate measures in place.

In addition, you will find guidance in Appendix 3 of the L74 guidance HSE document on First aid at Work here.