Employers have a requirement to provide a safe working environment and while we hope no one would ever have an accident while at work, an employer needs to be prepared for the possibility. According to the law an employer must provide adequate first aid equipment, facilities and number of qualified first aiders. An employer must carry out a needs assessment to determine what these resources should be.
Appointed Person versus a First Aider
An Appointed Person does not have to be a qualified first aider but is responsible for ensuring that the first aid equipment is stocked with in date items and is responsible for calling an ambulance. All companies should have someone appointed to these responsibilities with HSE recommending 1 per 5 for high risk and 1 per 25 for low risk work environments. A first aider to provide treatment is required depending on the size and risks of your company. Where there is no first aider, it is advisable an appointed person has some basic lifesaving skills, to keep a person alive until the ambulance arrives.
How many first aiders should I have?
You need to decide the number of first aiders by carrying out a need’s assessment, but HSE recommends a company with 5-50 people has 1 and then 1 per additional 50 people. But this is minimum of one available, considering you have leave, sickness and training.
In carrying out a needs assessment you should think about some of the following points:
- What is the nature of our work?
- How risky is the work that we carry out?
- What is the history of accidents in the company?
- Do people work alone?
- What are the work patterns of our staff?
- Do we have holiday and sickness cover?
- Are the workers full time or part time?
- Do we have multiple sites?
- How close are the emergency services?
- What is demographic of our workforce?
- Do we have visitors?
Do I need to provide for visitors?
The current first aid regulations require first aid cover for your workforce and not people visiting your business. However, you should consider the requirements of your insurance and how many people visit your premises. If you have many visitors, there could be higher chance of something occurring and a visitor requiring support. You also need to consider the demographic; do you get many children which might require a different range of first aid training.
You need to consider in the current climate of social media, with posts tending quickly, would a visitor who receives poor support to an emergency effect your brand?
- For a range of information from the HSE for employees, employees, employers and training providers visit the HSE Website - First Aid in Detail
- A leaflet on guidance for employers can be found on the HSE website covering The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981.
- For further information from the HSE on working out your first aid needs visit HSE Website - First aid needs assessment