Health, Safety & Environment Consultants

First Aid Provision in the Workplace


Under the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, all employers have to determine adequate appropriate arrangements for first aid at work. What is adequate and appropriate depends on the circumstances within a particular workplace.

 The minimum requirements as directed under the regulations are:

  • A suitably stocked first aid box
  • An appointed person to take charge of first aid arrangements.

 However, the regulations require you to undertake a first aid needs assessment to establish what is adequate and appropriate for your business. There are many aspects to consider when establishing adequate and appropriate first aid provisions in the workplace. A good place to start is to look at the number of employees in the workplace, and your workplace risk assessment which should identify any specific workplace risks.

 In general, you should consider the following:

  • Number of employees
  • Location of employees – Are you spread over multiple sites? Do you have loan workers?
  • Hours of operation – Do you have shift workers?
  • Exposure to hazardous substances – Does your business expose workers and potentially others to hazardous substances?
  • Distance from emergency services – Is your business operating from a remote location?
  • Persons with special needs – Do you have young people, pregnant or nursing mothers, people with disabilities or persons with special health problems on site?

 From this assessment it can be determined the number of first aid kits to be made available, contents of first aid kits, the location of kits, number of first aiders and any other provision that may be necessary (e.g. First aid room, stretcher, burns kits etc).

 When selecting appointed persons to become trained first aiders, it is always good to ask for volunteers. People that want to carry out the task of being a trained first aider, will naturally be more passionate, caring and compassionate than those forced into the role. You should consider the following:

  • Availability – Are the individuals available, or do they often need to leave the premises to meet clients etc?
  • Physical Ability – Being a first aider is physically demanding. Persons being trained should be physically able to carry out the tasks required.
  • Personality – Is the person to be trained as a first aider calm in a crisis? Injured persons need to stay calm, and are more likely to do so if the person administering first aid is of a calm disposition.

 The standard courses are the one-day Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) which is designed for low-risk organisations, and the three day First Aid at Work (FAW). Training of your first aider should be by a nationally recognised, regulated qualifications provider.

 Assessing your first aid requirements is a legal requirement and is designed to preserve life. Make sure you assess your first aid requirements for your business, today.

 If you need help with assessing your first aid requirements, or with any part of your health and safety management system, contact us to find out how we can help you: or 01843 6399711.

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