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 and the self-employed.
First aid needs assessment
To comply with the legislation, employers should carry out an assessment of first aid needs to determine whether the following are required:
- Trained first aiders
- Appointed persons
- First aid box
- First aid room
- First aid equipment such as defibrillators
- Appropriate signage
Whilst employers do not have a legal duty to provide first aid for members of the public, it is recommended that they are included in the assessment.
The level of first aid provision required depends upon the size of the organisation, the workplace hazards present, location and proximity to local hospitals. An assessment may be carried out using the checklist provided in H.S.E free leaflet First aid at work - your questions answered.
First aid training
If you have identified that first aiders are needed in your workplace, they must gain a certificate of competence from a training organisation that has been approved by the Health and Safety Executive. Courses last for at least 24 hours of training, usually held over four days or spread over several weeks. First aid at work certificates are valid for three years. Refresher courses are of at least 12 hours training and are normally held over two days.
The Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1979 requires employees who suffer a personal injury through an accident at work to inform the employer immediately (orally or in writing) or as soon as possible after the accident. Details of the accident should be recorded in an accessible accident book. Where there are 10 or more employees a data protection compliant accident book should be maintained.
The following information should be recorded in the accident book:
- date, time and place of incident
- name and job of the injured or ill person
- details of the injury/illness and what first aid was given
- what happened to the person immediately afterwards (for example went home, went back to work, went to hospital)
- name and signature of the first aider or person dealing with the incident
It is the responsibility of the first aider or appointed person to look after the accident book although the employer has overall responsibility.
For further information about first aid in the workplace contact:
Employment Medical Advisory Service (EMAS)
Tel: 02920 263000