The Importance Of First Aid In The Workplace: 5 Ways To Ensure Effective First Aid With High Speed ​​Training


Appropriate and sufficient first aid arrangements are essential for every business. Having these means that if someone suffers an injury or sudden illness, they can be attended to immediately and effectively, and the emergency services can be called if necessary.

They also ensure that the business meets its legal requirements. Under the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, employers must provide adequate and suitable equipment, facilities, and staff. This applies to all workplaces, including those with fewer than five employees and the self-employed.

It is therefore important for employers and others responsible for first aid to know what the law requires, how to identify first aid needs and ensure that arrangements are effective. Liz Burton-Hughes, Health and Safety Learning Designer at High Speed ​​Training outlines five important considerations for effective first aid arrangements within businesses:

Businesses must comply with minimum first aid provisions

Minimum first aid supplies include a properly stored first aid kit, a designated person to take charge of the first aid arrangements, and provide the necessary information to employees.

If a first aid needs assessment (discussed below) shows that a workplace has higher level hazards or a large number of employees on site (more than 25), then additional measures are required. Where 25 or more people are employed, even in low hazard environments, at least one qualified paramedic should be provided. Vacation and sickness cover should be considered – the needs assessment will identify whether more staff is needed. Note that qualified paramedics are not required by default, and they are not the same as an appointed person, although the appointed person can also be a qualified paramedic.

A first aid needs assessment must be carried out

Beyond the minimum provisions, the level of first aid cover and specific arrangements required can vary according to the type of business and the work activities it does. This means that more may be needed in addition to the minimum requirements.

An assessment of first aid needs will enable the employer, or employee to whom they have delegated the responsibility, to identify what arrangements and cover are needed. It should take into account the nature of the work performed, workplace hazards and risks, the size of the business, and any history of accidents.

Qualified paramedics must receive face-to-face training

Qualified paramedics are not a default requirement, but where qualification is identified as necessary then this individual must receive formal face-to-face first aid training. This must be renewed every three years in person, but in between the three-year period it can be refreshed through online courses.

Face-to-face training ensures that they are fully prepared to provide first aid as it involves examining a range of key topics and practicing various aspects. For example, learning how to deliver rescue breaths during CPR is an important aspect of face-to-face training, as it is not recommended that anyone do this unless they have practiced it in training.

The contents of a first aid kit are determined by the needs assessment

There is no legally required contents list for a first aid kit, although the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides a recommended minimum list for businesses with low-risk work activities. They also advise British Standard (BS) 8599 compliant kits for those looking to buy pre-made. Kits do not have to meet this standard by law, but those that do contain a wide range of items that may be needed by workplaces.

The first aid needs assessment of the business will help identify anything that is needed beyond the minimum recommendations or BS 8599 compliant kit.

Identify what type of first aid training is needed

The type of face-to-face first aid training that qualified first aiders should receive depends on a variety of factors.

The risk assessment must consider what level of danger is associated with the work activities and the number of employees they have:

  • Low hazard (eg offices, shops and libraries).

  • More advanced hazards (eg engineering and assembly work, food processing, and work with dangerous machinery).

    • 5-50 employees – Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) or First Aid at Work (FAW), depending on the injuries that could occur as identified in the risk assessment.

    • Over 50 employees – First Aid at Work (FAW).

If a first aid needs assessment for a small, low-risk business identifies that a qualified paramedic is not necessary, it may be sufficient for a member of staff to receive basic Workplace First Aid training that is not face-to-face (such as through an online course). Those who work with children and need to be a qualified paramedic must undergo training in Pediatric First Aid.

Finally, an important final note is that no matter what first aid arrangements are in place, in many circumstances the first aider alone will not be able to deal with the issue, and so it may be necessary to call the emergency services. This means that advice can be sought and an ambulance can be dispatched. Those with first aid responsibilities must understand the importance of taking this action to ensure that victims receive the help they need.

For more information on first aid courses or health and safety training, visit


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