First Aid

Last reviewed on 11/07/2013 11:15

This page gives details of how to make adequate first aid arrangements for the workplace.

You will also find details of legal duties and obligations relating to first aid at work, and sources of further information.

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Why are First Aid arrangements needed?

First Aid at Work covers the arrangements employers must make to ensure employees who become ill or injure themselves at work receive immediate attention, including calling an ambulance in serious cases.

It doesn’t matter whether the illness or injury is caused by work, what is important is that lives can be saved and minor injuries prevented from becoming serious by the quick intervention of a trained first aider.


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What is a 'first aider'?

In relation to the workplace, a first aider is someone who has passed and is in receipt of a valid 4-day, Health and Safety Executive approved training course for carrying out First Aid at work.

A qualified first aider can carry out the duties of an appointed person.


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What is an 'appointed person'?

An appointed person is someone who takes charge in an emergency situation when a person becomes ill at work.

In an emergency they will:

  • find a trained first aider
  • call an ambulance if required.

Appointed persons also replenish the First Aid Box when required and ensure emergency equipment is kept in good working order.

An appointed person should only administer First Aid appropriate to their level of training.


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Training for First Aid

If an employer assesses that a qualified first aider is required for the workplace, the person who will become the first aider must attend an HSE-approved course. Such courses must provide at least 24 hours of training. Usually, they are held over four days or spread out over a few weeks.

First Aid at Work Certificates are valid for three years. Re-qualification courses consist of 12 hours refresher training over two days. However, the issue of training and refresher training in First Aid is currently under review and these requirements may change.


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Why have a trained first aider?

Many small firms only need to make the minimum of First Aid provisions, but assessment of your workplace hazards may show that a trained first aider is required.

A checklist with guidance is available from The Health and Safety Executive:

First Aid at Work – Your questions answered INDG214 (external site)


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How many first aiders are needed?

There are no rules on how many first aiders are required as this depends on the circumstances of individual businesses.

It is up to the employer, after carrying out an assessment of the workplace, to decide on the First Aid needs.


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First Aid Boxes

There is no standard list of First Aid items for a First Aid Box. As with the number of first aiders required for a workplace, this will depend on individual circumstances.

As a guide, a list is printed on the HSE leaflet First Aid at Work – Your questions answered (external site)


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Legal duties and obligations around First Aid

As well as the moral duty of employers to protect employees and members of the public, General Health and Safety Legislation covers all employers and workplaces.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 These regulations place an obligation on employers to assess risks and where necessary, take action to eliminate or control the risks.

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981These regulations state that, in order to provide First Aid to their employees who become injured or ill at work, employers must have adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel.

Regulations apply to all workplaces, including those with less than five employees.

Self-employed workers need to ensure they have adequate facilities to provide First Aid to themselves.

If the self-employed person works with others on mixed premises, then joint arrangements should be made with other occupiers. It could be that one employer will take responsibility for the provision of First Aid cover for all workers on the premises.


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Further information on First Aid at Work

First Aid at Work (external site) This site from the Health and Safety Executive provides information on all aspects of first aid at work for employers and employees across all industry sectors.

Free resources from Healthy Working Lives Links below are to publications pages giving options to download these resources:

Free First Aid guidance from the Health and Safety Executive Note – all links are to external pages on the HSE website giving options to download or order these resources:

Priced First Aid guidance from the Health and Safety Executive Note – all links are to external pages on the HSE website giving options to order these resources:


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